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

Massimo Bartoli, Nicola Canessa, Giuseppina Elena Cipriani, Stefano F. Cappa, Martina Amanzio
2021 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
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
more » ... 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.
doi:10.3390/ijerph18115847 pmid:34072431 fatcat:tv6sc5kk4rdh7e3zqzwdshswuq