COVID-19-Related Stress and Anxiety, Body Mass Index, Eating Disorder Symptomatology, and Body Image in Women from Poland: A Cluster Analysis Approach
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 18:22 authored by Kamila Czepczor-Bernat, Viren Swami, Adriana Modrzejewska, Justyna Modrzejewska
To limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many countries have introduced mandated lockdown or social distancing measures. Although these measures may be successful against COVID-19 transmission, the pandemic and attendant restrictions are a source of chronic and severe stress and anxiety which may contribute to the emergence or worsening of symptoms of eating disorders and the development of negative body image. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to: (1) classify different conditions associated with COVID-19-related stress, COVID-19-related anxiety, and weight status; and (2) analyze and compare the severity of dimensions typically related to eating disorders symptomatology and body image in individuals with different COVID-19-related stress, COVID-19-related anxiety, and weight status. Polish women (N = 671, Mage = 32.50 ± 11.38) completed measures of COVID-19-related stress and anxiety along with body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and bulimia symptomatology subscales of the Eating Disorders Inventory, and the appearance evaluation, overweight preoccupation, and body areas satisfaction subscales of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire. The following four clusters were identified through cluster analysis: (a) Cluster 1 (N = 269), healthy body weight and low COVID-related stress (M = 3.06) and anxiety (M = 2.96); (b) Cluster 2 (N = 154), healthy body weight and high COVID-related stress (M = 5.43) and anxiety (M = 5.29); (c) Cluster 3 (N = 127), excess body weight and high COVID-related stress (M = 5.23) and anxiety (M = 5.35); (d) Cluster 4 (N = 121), excess body weight and low COVID-related stress (M = 2.69) and anxiety (M = 2.83). Our results showed that Clusters 3 and 4 had significantly greater body dissatisfaction and lower appearance evaluation and body areas satisfaction than Clusters 1 and 2. Cluster 3 also had a significantly higher level of drive for thinness, bulimia, and overweight preoccupation than Clusters 1 and 2. These preliminary findings may mean that the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic are exacerbating symptoms of eating disorders and negative body image, with women with excess weight particularly at risk.
- Accepted version