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Journal of Psychiatric Research ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1630902


With the global COVID-19 pandemic, governments from many countries in the world implemented various restrictions to prevent the SARS-Cov-2 virus's spread, including social distancing measures, quarantine, in-home lockdown, and the closure of services and public spaces. This led to an in-creased use of social media platforms to make people feel more connected, but also to maintain physical activity while self-isolating. Concerns about physical appearance and the desire to keep or reach a muscular and toned ideal body, might have further reinforced the engagement in fitness-related social media activities, like sharing progresses in training achievements or following more fitness contents on popular profiles. To better understand the underlying relation among these factors, the present study investigates 729 responses to the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI), the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) and their asso-ciation to social media usage and compares the results cross-culturally in five countries (Spain, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Japan, and Hungary). Findings highlight significant differences between males and females, espe-cially in regard to the time spent online (U = 477.5, p = 0.036). Greater levels of appearance anxiety were associated with the exposure to fitness-related contents on social media. These results strongly confirm the previously highlighted association between fitspiration media and body image anxiety predominantly in females. Clinical implications and future considerations in terms of prevention and treatment in a situation of global emergency are also discussed.

Front Public Health ; 9: 708965, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506937


This study assesses the gender differences in health and anxiety, especially pertaining to mental health problems and time-course effects. We surveyed 121 patients admitted to a hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis between March 1 and August 31, 2020. Their mental status was evaluated on admission using the Japanese General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Form JYZ (STAI). The patients were divided into two groups depending on the period of prevalence, that is, the first and second waves of the pandemic in Japan (from the beginning of March to the end of May 2020, Time 1 = T1; and from the beginning of June to the end of August 2020, Time 2 = T2). A multivariate analysis of covariance revealed significant differences in gender by time interactions in the GHQ-28 subscale "Insomnia and anxiety" and STAI subscale "State-Anxiety." Post-hoc t-tests revealed that the scores of "Insomnia and Anxiety" and "State-Anxiety" were higher in women than in men at T1. However, no difference was observed at T2. Further, "Insomnia and Anxiety" and "State-Anxiety" were significantly higher at T1 than at T2 in female patients. There was no significant difference in males. Thus, female patients were more anxious and depressed in the early phase of the pandemic, whereas male patients had difficulties in coping with anxiety. We suggest more gender-specific mental care, particularly for women at the early stages of infection.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Humans , Inpatients , Japan/epidemiology , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires
Front Psychol ; 12: 689058, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323091


Introduction: Physical distancing under the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a significant impact on lifestyles, including exercise routines. In this study, we examined the relationship between mental health and addictive behaviors, such as excessive exercise and the use of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) across 12 sport disciplines. Materials and methods: A large cross-sectional sample of the adult population (N = 2,295) was surveyed. The mean age was 33.09 (SD = 11.40). The number of male participants was 668 (30.0%). The use of IPEDs was assessed in conjunction with psychometric measures such as the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI) and the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI). The participants were grouped into activity group (AG) and non-activity group (NAG) according to the presence or absence of their exercise habits. The results were compared between these groups, as well as across sport disciplines, while taking into account the relationship between different psychological measures and IPEDs consumption. Results: The frequency of IPEDs use was higher among AG (34.6%) than NAG (14.6%), although AG participants reported less history of addictions (7.1%) than NAG (11.8%). The logistic regression analysis revealed that scores equal to or above cutoff points, in both the EAI and AAI, predicted the IPEDs use. Regarding the differences across the various sport disciplines, those who were involved in practicing Weight Lifting and Cross Fit were found to be more at risk of excessive exercising and more inclined to use a wide range of IPEDs. Conclusions: Although exercise could help to increase well-being and prevent addictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, our results show that those in the AG are particularly vulnerable to excessive IPEDs use. Sport disciplines associated with higher EAI and AAI scores have also shown a higher tendency to excessive IPEDs use. Furthermore, the factor of having above the cutoff scores in EAI or AAI in each sport could indicate larger IPEDs consumption regardless of the discipline. In light of the current findings, it is necessary to better define the "non-excessive" levels of exercise in various sport disciplines and an adequate intake of IPEDs to ensure the safety and well-being of people during a pandemic.

Front Psychiatry ; 12: 648501, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1156163


Introduction: Little is known about the impact of restrictive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic on self-image and engagement in exercise and other coping strategies alongside the use of image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) to boost performance and appearance. Objectives: To assess the role of anxiety about appearance and self-compassion on the practice of physical exercise and use of IPEDs during lockdown. Methods: An international online questionnaire was carried out using the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI), the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (AAI), and the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) in addition to questions on the use of IPEDs. Results: The sample consisted of 3,161 (65% female) adults from Italy (41.1%), Spain (15.7%), the United Kingdom (UK) (12.0%), Lithuania (11.6%), Portugal (10.5%), Japan (5.5%), and Hungary (3.5%). The mean age was 35.05 years (SD = 12.10). Overall, 4.3% of the participants were found to engage in excessive or problematic exercise with peaks registered in the UK (11.0%) and Spain (5.4%). The sample reported the use of a wide range of drugs and medicines to boost image and performance (28%) and maintained use during the lockdown, mostly in Hungary (56.6%), Japan (46.8%), and the UK (33.8%), with 6.4% who started to use a new drug. Significant appearance anxiety levels were found across the sample, with 18.1% in Italy, 16.9% in Japan, and 16.7% in Portugal. Logistic regression models revealed a strong association between physical exercise and IPED use. Anxiety about appearance also significantly increased the probability of using IPEDs. However, self-compassion did not significantly predict such behavior. Anxiety about appearance and self-compassion were non-significant predictors associated with engaging in physical exercise. Discussion and Conclusion: This study identified risks of problematic exercising and appearance anxiety among the general population during the COVID-19 lockdown period across all the participating countries with significant gender differences. Such behaviors were positively associated with the unsupervised use of IPEDs, although no interaction between physical exercise and appearance anxiety was observed. Further considerations are needed to explore the impact of socially restrictive measures among vulnerable groups, and the implementation of more targeted responses.