New research from the University of Toronto has revealed the mental health toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults with peptic ulcer disease (PUD), a painful condition in which gastric sores develop in the lining of the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine.
The researchers examined a subsample of older adults from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, a national dataset of older Canadians. The sample consisted of 1,140 older adults with PUD, of whom 689 had a pre-pandemic history of depression and 451 had no history of depression. By using longitudinal data, the researchers were able to compare the mental health trajectories of those with and without a history of depression. The article was published this week in PLOS ONE.
Among older adults with PUD and no lifetime history of depression, approximately 1 in 8 (13.0%) developed depression for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. These numbers were substantially higher when compared to depression levels before the pandemic (2015-2018).