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Depression odds for many adults more than doubled during the pandemic

Numerous scientific papers link the pandemic to depression. Yet the overall picture is muddied by studies that suggest mental health has stabilized or even improved since the initial lockdown.

New research in the journal Nature Aging tries to clarify the picture.

An analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging finds the odds of depression among middle-aged and older adults were doubled during the pandemic.

Those odds were made three to six times worse if subjects were lonely, had lower socioeconomic status or more health problems, or were caregivers.

Such factors contributed to depression long before COVID-19 added fears of infection and unemployment to the mix, along with reduced access to family, friends and health care.

The paper calls for alleviating the pandemic's mental health impact by focusing efforts on the groups at greatest risk. 

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.