Sociodemographic Factors and Adjustment of Daily Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Findings from the SHARE Corona Survey

J Aging Soc Policy. 2023 May 1:1-23. doi: 10.1080/08959420.2023.2206077. Online ahead of print.


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, older people across Europe have adjusted their daily activities as personal risk avoidance and as an amendment to policy recommendations and restrictions. In this study, we use multilevel logistic regressions to examine to what extent sociodemographic factors are associated with activity reduction among the older population (50+) in Europe and whether these associations are moderated by governmental policy responses to COVID-19. By combining data for~35,000 respondents from the SHARE Corona Survey on reported changes in daily activities and stringency of restrictions at the national level, we find that older age, poorer health and being female versus male were (consistently) associated with greater activity reduction across all activities both in countries with weak and in those with strong restrictions. Associations between education, employment and living situation, on the one hand, and activity reduction, on the other, were weaker and less consistent. We conclude that differences between sociodemographic groups are rather similar for countries with weak and those with strong restrictions and hence argue that group-specific policy recommendation are relevant independent of stringency recommendations.

Keywords: Activity adjustment; COVID-19; Europe; SHARE Corona Survey; cross-national comparisons; daily activities; government response stringency.