Social distancing and trouble sleeping during COVID-19 pandemic among older adults in Europe: Mediating and moderating effects

Rabia Khalaila*, Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We examined the association between social distancing and trouble sleeping during the COVID-19 outbreak in adults 65+, and underlying potential mechanisms. Methods: We used data from the extensive Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Logistic regression analysis tested the direct and indirect associations between social distancing and trouble sleeping during the pandemic, the mediation effect of depression, and the moderating-mediation effects of perceived economic status and employment status. Findings: Social distancing was associated with a higher probability of sleeping problems, partially mediated by depression and moderated by employment status and perceived economic status. Depression had a greater effect on trouble sleeping among those unemployed and those who perceived their economic status as difficult or partially difficult. Conclusion: COVID-19 policy of lockdowns and physical distancing has negative consequences on sleeping and the development of depressive symptoms among older adults. Clinical and policy relevance: Clinicians should be aware of sleep problems in older adults during the pandemic and after, and try to reduce depressive symptoms. Policymakers should determine future policies and regulations that encourage employment among older adults and improve their economic resilience during pandemics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper uses data from SHARE Wave 8 (DOIs: 10.6103/SHARE.w8cabeta.001). The SHARE data collection has been funded by the European Commission through FP5 (QLK6‐CT‐2001‐00360), FP6 (SHARE‐I3: RII‐CT‐2006‐062193, COMPARE: CIT5‐CT‐2005‐028857, SHARELIFE: CIT4‐CT‐2006‐028812), FP7 (SHARE‐PREP: GA N°211909, SHARE‐LEAP: GA N°227822, SHARE M4: GA N°261982, DASISH: GA N°283646) and Horizon 2020 (SHARE‐DEV3: GA N°676536, SHARE‐COHESION: GA N°870628, SERISS: GA N°654221, SSHOC: GA N°823782) and by DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion. Additional funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01_AG09740‐13S2, P01_AG005842, P01_AG08291, P30_AG12815, R21_AG025169, Y1‐AG‐4553‐01, IAG_BSR06‐11, OGHA_04‐064, HHSN271201300071C) and from various national funding sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share‐ ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Sigma Theta Tau International.


  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • economic resilience
  • sleep deficits


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