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Visiting parents in times of COVID-19: The impact of parent-adult child contacts on the psychological health of the elderly

Agar Brugiavini, Cinzia Di Novi and Cristina Elisa Orso

Economics & Human Biology, 2022, vol. 46, issue C

Abstract: Using the 8th wave of the SHARE and the SHARE Corona Survey, we investigated whether the disruption of parent–adult child contacts due to social distancing restrictions increased the symptoms of depression among old age individuals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We model the relationship between the disruption of parent–adult child contacts and the mental health of the elderly using a recursive simultaneous equation model for binary variables. Our findings show that the likelihood of disruption of parent–adult child contacts was higher with adult children who do not live with or close to their parents (i.e., in the same household or in the same building) for whom contact disruption increases about 15 %. The duration of restrictions to movement and lockdowns also has a positive and significant effect on parent-child contact disruption: an additional week of lockdown significantly increases the probability of parent-child contact disruption, by about 1.5 %. The interventions deemed essential to reduce the spread of the pandemic, such as the “stay-at-home” order, necessarily disrupted personal parent–child contacts and the social processes that facilitate psychological well-being, increasing the probability of suffering from a deepening depressed mood by about 17 % for elderly parents.

Keywords: COVID-19; Stay-at-home order; Parent–adult child relationship; Disruption; Mental health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C26 I10 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:46:y:2022:i:c:s1570677x2200048x

DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2022.101152

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