Associations of Social Support with Physical and Mental Health Symptom Burden After COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Older Adults.

Publication date: Apr 01, 2024

Despite significant support system disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, little is known about the relationship between social support and symptom burden among older adults following COVID-19 hospitalization. From a prospective cohort of 341 community-living persons aged ≥60 years hospitalized with COVID-19 between June 2020-June 2021 who underwent follow-up at 1, 3, and 6 months after discharge, we identified 311 participants with ≥1 follow-up assessment. Social support pre-hospitalization was ascertained using a 5-item version of the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (range, 5-25), with low social support defined as a score ≤15. At hospitalization and each follow-up assessment, 14 physical symptoms were assessed using a modified Edmonton Symptom Assessment System inclusive of COVID-19-relevant symptoms. Mental health symptoms were assessed using Patient Health Questionnaire-4. Longitudinal associations between social support and physical and mental health symptoms, respectively, were evaluated through multivariable regression. Participants’ mean age was 71. 3 years (standard deviation, 8. 5), 52. 4% were female, and 34. 2% were of Black race or Hispanic ethnicity. 11. 8% reported low social support. Over the 6-month follow-up period, low social support was independently associated with higher burden of physical symptoms (adjusted rate ratio [aRR], 1. 26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1. 05-1. 52), but not mental health symptoms (aRR, 1. 14; 95% CI, 0. 85-1. 53). Low social support is associated with greater physical, but not mental health, symptom burden among older survivors of COVID-19 hospitalization. Our findings suggest a potential need for social support screening and interventions to improve post-COVID-19 symptom management in this vulnerable group.

Concepts Keywords
Edmonton COVID-19
Hispanic physical symptom burden
Hospitalization Social support


Type Source Name
disease IDO symptom
disease MESH COVID-19

Original Article

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