Subjective Age Moderates the Association between COVID-19 Health Worries and Generalized Anxiety Symptoms Among Formal Caregivers


  • Ziv Karni-Efrati University of Haifa
  • Yuval Palgi University of Haifa, Department of Gerontology and the Center for Research and Study of Aging
  • Ehud Bodner Bar-Ilan University, Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences
  • Lee Greenblatt-Kimron Ariel University, School of Social Work



Anxiety, COVID-19 health worries, subjective age, formal caregivers, homecare


During the COVID-19 pandemic, formal caregivers face increased challenges while assisting older adults. A decline in caregivers' mental health might negatively affect services for older care recipients when they most need it. This study examines the relationship between COVID-19 health worries and generalized anxiety symptoms; and the moderating role of subjective age on this relationship among formal caregivers.  A cross-sectional survey was conducted in the homecare services sector. Participants (N=400, Mage= 47.79, SD=13.8) completed an online questionnaire regarding subjective age, COVID-19 health worries, and anxiety.  Older subjective age and higher COVID-19 health worries predicted a higher anxiety level. In addition, subjective age moderated the association between COVID-19 health worries and anxiety showing that among formal caregivers who reported older subjective age, the association between COVID-19 health worries and anxiety was stronger.  Formal caregivers with an older subjective age tend to demonstrate a stronger association with poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can mitigate the level of COVID-19 health worries by providing adequate personal protective equipment and guidance on how to deal with contagion. In addition, employers may use interventions that focus on healthy behavior to induce younger subjective age.