Ethnic Differences in Loneliness, Depression, and Malnutrition Among Older Adults During COVID-19 Quarantine

Adi Vitman Schorr, I. Yehuda, S. Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Depression in older adults may result from a variety of reasons such as loneliness feelings and malnutrition. Objective: To examine the direct and indirect effect of loneliness feelings on depressive symptoms, mediated by malnutrition, among older adults from different cultures during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic quarantine. Method: A convenience sample of 101 Arabs and 100 Jewish older adults aged 65 and over was interviewed. Using bootstrapping, we tested the strength and significance of the conditional indirect effect of malnutrition (mediator) on the relationship between loneliness feelings and depressive symptoms. Results: The relationship between loneliness feelings and depressive symptoms was mediated by malnutrition and Arab older adults reported a higher level than Jewish older adults of loneliness, depression, and malnutrition during the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine. Conclusions and implications: To reduce loneliness feelings, depressive symptoms, and malnutrition in times of crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential to develop new communication methods for and with older adults in general, with particular attention paid to ethnic differences, that will be effective in reducing loneliness and in promoting nutrition intervention. Possible solutions include new social network technologies for reducing loneliness, with continued reliance on phone communication for combined intervention that includes psychological support accompanied by instructions for a healthy lifestyle and malnutrition prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Serdi and Springer-Verlag International SAS, part of Springer Nature.


  • Covid-19
  • Loneliness feelings
  • depressive symptoms
  • malnutrition
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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