Factors of Negative Affect in Elderly Patients With Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 Pandemic


Background: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become the greatest public health emergency and has attracted global attention. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the negative affect (NA) of elderly patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) has also become a more serious public concern. The current study aims to clarify the NA and its influencing factors in elderly patients with SUDs during the pandemic.

Methods: Two psychiatrists conducted semi-structured interviews with 77 SUD patients aged above 50 years to collect their demographical information and certain drug use characteristics. Barratt Impulse Scale and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale were used to obtain information about patients' self-reported impulsivity and NA.

Results: Univariate linear regression analysis showed that NA was positively correlated with the frequency of drug use, type of SUDs, cravings during COVID-19, and impulsivity. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that being female, higher frequency of drug use, stronger cravings, and greater impulsiveness jointly accounted for the variation of NA in elderly patients with SUDs.

Conclusions: This study confirmed that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, gender, frequency of drug use, cravings, and impulsivity were associated with NA in elderly patients with SUDs. This study provided a theoretical basis for clinicians to reduce the patients' NA.


© 2021 Wang, Wang, Zuo, Zhou, Yang, Liao, Tang, Wang, Yang, Wu, Wu, Goodman, Liu and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


Substance Use Disorder, Negative Affect, Elderly, Impulsivity, Cravings, COVID-19


Wang Q, Wang Y, Zuo J, Zhou Y, Yang WFZ, Liao Y, Tang J, Wang X, Yang Q, Wu Q, Wu HE, Goodman CB, Liu T and Zhang X (2021) Factors of Negative Affect in Elderly Patients With Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 Pandemic. Front. Psychiatry 12:697472. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.697472