Research Article
PDF Zotero Mendeley EndNote BibTex Cite

“COVID-19 Psychology” among Older Adults: As a Grief Process

Year 2020, Volume 3, Issue 2, 27 - 33, 01.12.2020


COVID-19 Pandemic affected individuals around the world dramatically. It is a transition process influencing the coping resources of individuals. Several disorders such as coronavirus fear/anxiety, illness-anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder have been seen among individuals. Older adults have had trouble during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown experience lasting many days, social isolation, being able to leave home in a limited time zone affect older adults negatively. The paper is focused on interpreting psychological stages determined by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler (2005) to the COVID-19 process. Those stages help professionals to understand older adults’ reactions afterward COVID-19 Pandemic. In addition, the paper includes cognitive, behavioral, and emotional suggestions to cope with COVID-19 psychology.

Key Practitioners Message

1. Older adults have trouble during the COVID-19 pandemic and the psychological consequences are still unknown among them.

2. Among psychological disorders coronavirus fear, illness-anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely seen and it is difficult somehow to differentiate symptoms of those disorders.

3. The COVID-19 leads to “the loss of normal life” and therefore, psychological reactions are quite similar as in the grief process, which is defined by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler (2005)


  • Aardema, F. (2020). COVID-19, obsessive-compulsive disorder and invisible life forms that threaten the self. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 26, 100558.
  • Arora, A., Jha, A. K., Alat, P., & Das, S. S. (2020). Understanding coronaphobia. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 54, 102384.
  • Asmundson, G., & Taylor, S. (2020). Chronophobia: Fear and the 2019-nCoV outbreak. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 70, 102196.
  • Atalan, A. (2020). Is the lockdown important to prevent the COVID-9 pandemic? Effects on psychology, environment, and economy-perspective. Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 56, 38-42.
  • Ayalon, L. (2020). There is nothing new under the sun: ageism and intergenerational tension in the age of the COVID-19 outbreak. International Psychogeriatrics, 32(10), 1221–1224.
  • Benatti, B., Albert, U., Maina, G., Fiorillo, A., Celebre, L., Girone, N., … Dell’Osso, B. (2020). What happened to patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic? A multicentre report from tertiary clinics in northern Italy. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 720.
  • Goveas, J. S., & Shear, M. K. (2020). Grief and the COVID-19 pandemic in older adults. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(10), 1119–1125
  • Han, J., Cha, M., & Lee, W. (2020). Anger contributes to the spread of COVID-19 misinformation. Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, 1(3).
  • Jetten, J., Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., & Cruwys, T. (2020). Together apart: The psychology of COVID19 (1st ed.). London: Sage.
  • Kivi, M., Hansson, I., & Bjälkebring, P. (2020). Up and about: Older adults’ well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic in a Swedish longitudinal study. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 76(2), e4-e9.
  • Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2005). On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of grief. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Lee, S. A., & Crunk, E. A. (2020). Fear and psychopathology during the COVID-19 crisis: Neuroticism, hypochondriasis, reassurance-seeking, and coronaphobia as fear factors. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 0030222820949350.
  • Lee, S. A., Jobe, M. C., Mathis, A. A., & Gibbons, J. A. (2020). Incremental validity of coronaphobia: Coronavirus anxiety explains depression, generalized anxiety, and death anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 74, 102268.
  • Mertens, G., Gerritsen, L., Duijndam, S., Salemink, E., & Engelhard, I. M. (2020). Fear of the coronavirus (COVID-19): Predictors in an online study conducted in March 2020. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 74, 102258.
  • Montero-Odasso, M., Goens, S., Kamkar, N., Lam, R., Madden, K., Molnar, F., ... & Saverio, S. (2020). Canadian geriatrics society COVID-19 recommendations for older adults. What do older adults need to know? Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 23(1), 149–151.
  • Pancani, L., Marinucci, M., Aureli, N., & Riva, P. (2020). Forced social isolation and mental health: A study on 1006 Italians under COVID-19 quarantine. PsyArXiv Preprints.
  • Parlapani, E., Holeva, V., Nikopoulou, V. A., Sereslis, K., Athanasiadou, M., Godosidis, A., … Diakogiannis, I. (2020). Intolerance of uncertainty and loneliness in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 842.
  • Petretto, D. R., & Pili, R. (2020). Ageing and COVID-19: What is the Role for Elderly People? Geriatrics, 5(2), 25.
  • Scarella, T. M., Boland, R. J., & Barsky, A. J. (2019). Illness anxiety disorder: Psychopathology, epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment. Psychosomatic Medicine, 81(5), 398-407.
  • Schimmenti, A., Billieux, J., & Starcevic, V. (2020). The four horsemen of fear: An integrated model of understanding fear experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 17(2), 41-45.
  • Schrack, J. A., Wanigatunga, A. A., & Juraschek, S. P. (2020). After the COVID-19 pandemic: the next wave of health challenges for older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 75(9), e121-e122.
  • Steinman, M. A., Perry, L., & Perissinotto, C. M. (2020). Meeting the care needs of older adults isolated at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Internal Medicine, 180(6), 819-820.
  • Taylor, S., Landry, C., Paluszek, M., Fergus, T. A., McKay, D., & Asmundson, G. J. (2020). Development and initial validation of the COVID Stress Scales. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 72, 102232.
  • van Tilburg, T. G., Steinmetz, S., Stolte, E., van der Roest, H., & de Vries, D. H. (2020). Loneliness and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: A study among Dutch older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, gbaa111. Advance online publication.
  • Wallace, C. L., Wladkowski, S. P., Gibson, A., & White, P. (2020). Grief during the COVID-19 pandemic: considerations for palliative care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60(1), e70- e76.
  • Whitehead, B. R., & Torossian, E. (in press). Older adults' experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixedmethods analysis of stresses and joys. The Gerontologist.
  • World Health Organization. (2017). Integrated care for older people: guidelines on community-level interventions to manage declines in intrinsic capacity. Geneva: World Health Organisation.
  • Worldometer (2020). Age, sex, existing conditions of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
  • Zacher, H., & Rudolph, C. W. (2020). Individual differences and changes in subjective wellbeing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist. 76(1), 50-62.


Primary Language English
Subjects Humanities, Multidisciplinary
Journal Section Articles

Mithat DURAK (Primary Author)


Publication Date December 1, 2020
Published in Issue Year 2020, Volume 3, Issue 2


APA Durak, M. & Şenol Durak, E. (2020). “COVID-19 Psychology” among Older Adults: As a Grief Process . Journal of Aging and Long-Term Care , 3 (2) , 27-33 . Retrieved from

For further assistance and more detailed information about the JALTC and the publishing process, please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat of the JALTC via sending an e-mail:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.