About this Research Topic
Eating disorders (ED) and weight disorders (WD) are severe illnesses in which young people undergo critical disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. In addition, given the scope and severity of obesity and unhealthy diets on health (e.g. diabetes II, cardiovascular disorders), these disorders could have serious repercussions on health, quality of life, and the global economy if prevention mechanisms are not put in place.
Despite the severity and the scope of ED and WD, there are still few studies on the assessment, early diagnosis, prognosis, treatment outcome, and the contribution of psychological resources and psychosocial stressors in the development, maintenance, prevention, and treatment of these disorders.
The situation of the novel coronavirus raises a particular interest in this subject. Although research has explored the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on depression, anxiety, distress, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress (Carvalho et al., 2020; Torales et al., 2020), little is yet known regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ED and WD. Psychosocial stressors derived from the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders may intensify triggers associated with ED and WD, thus presenting a challenging environment for individuals with or at risk of developing these disorders (Shah et al., 2020). Exploring these effects and adequate pathways to manage ED in the age of COVID-19 would be crucial to help relieve the long-term impacts on health in this population (Shah et al., 2020).
In order to fill this gap in the literature and thus, contribute to reducing the prevalence and the impact of COVID-19-related psychosocial stressors on ED and WD, it would be relevant to study associated biological and clinical aspects, specific psychiatric pathology and comorbidity, as well as the role of potential psychological resources and psychosocial stressors like family psychosocial functioning (e.g. teasing and bullying, the experience of family care, expressed emotion), emotional intelligence, self-esteem, life satisfaction, body dissatisfaction, social support, social isolation, discrimination, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, stress, etc. in the development, maintenance, prevention, treatment and relapse of these disorders. Furthermore, it would be useful to explore the effects of stay-at-home orders on the onset, maintenance, and worsening of ED and WD among individuals with or at risk of developing these disorders.
In addition to the theoretical implications, this research would also contribute to the design of prevention and intervention programs that would complement and enrich other well-established interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy and would help to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related stressors.
Recent advances show that the ED network structure or interconnectivity of ED symptoms vary significantly from adolescence to adulthood. Therefore, it would be pertinent to study the relationship of the mentioned variables with ED and WD using samples that include individuals at different developmental stages (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood).
Systematic Reviews, Meta-analysis, Original Research (based on empirical studies, instrumental research, or validation studies), Hypothesis and Theory, and Protocols are welcome.
Keywords: Eating disorders, weight disorders, assessment, early diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, psychological and social factors
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