Differential Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic Situation between Young and Older Adults Over Recall and Recognition
27 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2022 Publication Status: Under Review
Memory formation is modulated by anxiety, depression and sleep quality, and it is altered as a consequence of normal aging. During the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression values increased and sleep quality decreased, being young adults the more affected. It has been proposed that older adults had better coping mechanisms that could have diminished the negative effects of isolation. Furthermore, we have previously shown that this mental health deterioration, directly affected encoding of aversive episodic memories. Thus, we aimed to study the differential effects of the lockdown on memory processes in young and older adults. We hypothesized that as mental health was more impaired in young adults, their higher performance in episodic memory tasks over older adults would be lost during the pandemic. Participants completed a set of anxiety, depression and sleep quality tests, watched an aversive video and gave a free recall (day 1). On day 2, they performed a recognition and a free recall task, and carried out an episodic order task. We observed that anxiety and depression values were higher for both young and older adults compared to their respective population mean values before pandemic. In addition, younger adults had significantly higher values of anxiety as well as depression than older ones. Interestingly, older adults performed significantly better in the free recall task and both groups ordered the episodic events to an equal extent. However, young adults recognized faces better than older adults. As expected, the pandemic situation altered episodic memory processes markedly in young adults.
Note: Funding: This work was supported by AGENCIA PICT 2020/02666 to CF. Financial disclosure. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors have declared that no competing interests exist Competing interests statement: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper. Ethics: Approval was obtained from the Alberto Taquini Biomedical Research Ethics Committee. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Keywords: Memory, Age, Anxiety, Depression, Sleep
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