The COVID-19 pandemic is known to increase older adults' vulnerability to adverse outcomes. Alongside increased physical frailty, anxiety symptoms associated with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 contagion appear to represent its most prominent 'sequelae'. The attentional and linguistic resources required for decoding virus-related information may also influence the perceived threat of contagion. However, the possible role of neuropsychogeriatric factors on the latter dimension has never been assessed in a longitudinal study on the older population. To fill this gap, 50 healthy cognitively preserved older adults underwent a neuropsychological and physical frailty assessment before the pandemic (T0). Subsequently, they agreed to be interviewed and re-assessed during the lockdown (T1) and immediately after it (T2) through a longitudinal one-year study. Perceived threat of SARS-CoV-2 at T2 was predicted both by baseline anxiety and frailty scores, and by decreased performance in information processing speed and language comprehension tests. While confirming the joint role of frailty and anxiety, a moderation/interaction model showed that each of them was sufficient, at its highest level, to support the maximum degree of perceived threat of contagion. The contribution of neuropsychological factors to perceived threat of SARS-CoV-2 highlights their importance of tailoring information campaigns addressed to older people.

The Role of Neuropsychological Factors in Perceived Threat of {SARS}-{CoV}-2 in Healthy Ageing

Nicola Canessa;Stefano F. Cappa;
2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is known to increase older adults' vulnerability to adverse outcomes. Alongside increased physical frailty, anxiety symptoms associated with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 contagion appear to represent its most prominent 'sequelae'. The attentional and linguistic resources required for decoding virus-related information may also influence the perceived threat of contagion. However, the possible role of neuropsychogeriatric factors on the latter dimension has never been assessed in a longitudinal study on the older population. To fill this gap, 50 healthy cognitively preserved older adults underwent a neuropsychological and physical frailty assessment before the pandemic (T0). Subsequently, they agreed to be interviewed and re-assessed during the lockdown (T1) and immediately after it (T2) through a longitudinal one-year study. Perceived threat of SARS-CoV-2 at T2 was predicted both by baseline anxiety and frailty scores, and by decreased performance in information processing speed and language comprehension tests. While confirming the joint role of frailty and anxiety, a moderation/interaction model showed that each of them was sufficient, at its highest level, to support the maximum degree of perceived threat of contagion. The contribution of neuropsychological factors to perceived threat of SARS-CoV-2 highlights their importance of tailoring information campaigns addressed to older people.
normal aging
perceived threat
cognitive functions
mood deflections
phenotypic frailty model
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/11056
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