Objective: This study aimed to examine sex differences in factors associated with mood and anxiety in midlife men and women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: During a remote visit, 312 adults aged 40–60 years (167 female; 23.6% perimenopausal) from the Human Connectome Project in Aging completed PROMIS measures of depression, anxiety and anger/irritability; perceived stress; and questions about social support, financial stress and menopause stage. Multivariate linear regression models assessed sex differences in mental health and the association of social support, financial stress and menopause stage with mental health. Results: Anxiety was higher in women than in men (b = 2.39, p = 0.02). For women only, decreased social support was associated with increased anxiety (b = −2.26, p = 0.002), anger/irritability (b = −1.89, p = 0.02) and stress (b = −1.67, p = 0.002). For women only, not having close family was associated with increased depressive symptoms (b = −6.60, p = 0.01) and stress (b = −7.03, p < 0.001). For both sexes, having children was associated with lower depressive symptoms (b = −3.08, p = 0.002), anxiety (b = −1.93, p = 0.07), anger/irritability (b = −2.73, p = 0.02) and stress (b = −1.44, p = 0.07). Menopause stage was unrelated to mental health. Conclusion: Social support, but not financial stress, influenced mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic at midlife, particularly for women.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • COVID-19
  • menopause
  • mental health
  • Midlife
  • social support


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: the importance of social support in midlife women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this