How we survived: older adults’ adjustment to the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Margarida Jarego*, Fiona Tasker, Pedro Alexandre Costa, José Pais-Ribeiro, Alexandra Ferreira-Valente

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Older adults were found to be the most susceptible group to suffer the physical health consequences of a COVID-19 infection and were considered vulnerable to the negative effects of the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet unlike many young adults did not generally experience an increased rate of mental health problems. Our study explored the strategies older adults in Portugal deployed during the mandatory lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Qualitative interview data were collected with 22 older adults in relatively good health (aged between 66 and 92 years old; 36% women). Three main themes were identified via thematic analysis: (1) Finding things to do and activities that can protect me; (2) Identifying how my thoughts can protect me; and (3) Counting myself lucky – me and my home advantages. Some of the thematic strategies identified by older adults to manage pandemic and lockdown-related stresses related to meaning-centered coping could be further developed via cognitive behavioral therapies of the third wave.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Coping
  • COVID-19
  • Lockdown
  • Older adults
  • Psychological well-being


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