COVID-19 has led to disruptions in daily living and increased uncertainty about physical, financial, social, and psychological consequences, which may contribute to anxiety, eating disorder (ED) pathology, and compulsive exercise. Individual factors, such as intolerance of uncertainty, may impact risk for ED pathology and CE in response to COVID-19 anxiety. The current study examined associations between COVID-19 anxiety, trait intolerance of uncertainty, and COVID-19 intolerance of uncertainty and ED pathology and compulsive exercise.
Undergraduate participants (N = 295) completed a series of online questionnaires between March and April of 2020.
COVID-19 anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty were associated with ED pathology, but not compulsive exercise. Additionally, both trait and COVID-19 intolerance of uncertainty moderated associations between COVID-19 anxiety and compulsive exercise and ED pathology. COVID-19 anxiety was more strongly related to compulsive exercise and ED pathology for individuals with lower intolerance of uncertainty.
COVID-19 anxiety may increase risk for ED pathology and may be specifically important in determining risk for ED pathology and compulsive exercise among individuals with lower intolerance of uncertainty. These results contribute to a growing body of research aimed at understanding the mental health consequences of the COVID-19 and suggest that individual factors (e.g., anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty) are important in determining risk for ED pathology and compulsive exercise in the context of the pandemic.
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