Eating disorders during lockdown: the transcultural influence on eating and mood disturbances in Ibero-Brazilian population

Isabel Baenas, Carmem Beatriz Neufeld, Rita Ramos, Lucero Munguía, Rosane P Pessa, Tânia Rodrigues, Susana Jiménez-Murcia, Sónia Gonçalves, Marília C Teodoro, Ana Pinto-Bastos, Nazaré O Almeida, Roser Granero, Mikel Etxandi, Shauana R S Soares, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Paulo P P Machado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: COVID-19 pandemic has implied exceptional restrictive measures to contain its widespread, with adverse consequences on mental health, especially for those people with a background of mental illness, such as eating disorders (EDs). In this population, the influence of socio-cultural aspects on mental health has been still underexplored. Then, the main aim of this study was to assess changes in eating and general psychopathology in people with EDs during lockdown regarding the ED subtype, age, and provenance, and considering socio-cultural aspects (e.g., socioeconomical factors such as work and financial losses, social support, restrictive measures, or health accessibility, among others). Methods: The clinical sample was composed of 264 female participants with EDs (74 anorexia nervosa (AN), 44 bulimia nervosa (BN), 81 binge eating disorder (BED), and 65 other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED)), with a mean age of 33.49 years old (SD = 12.54), from specialized ED units in Brazil, Portugal, and Spain. The participants were evaluated using the COVID-19 Isolation Eating Scale (CIES). Results: A global impairment in mood symptoms and emotion regulation was reported in all the ED subtypes, groups of age, and countries. Spanish and Portuguese individuals seemed more resilient than Brazilian ones (p <.05), who reported a more adverse socio-cultural context (i.e., physical health, socio-familial, occupational, and economic status) (p <.001). A global trend to eating symptoms worsening during lockdown was observed, regardless of the ED subtype, group of age, and country, but without reaching statistical significance. However, the AN and BED groups described the highest worsening of the eating habits during lockdown. Moreover, individuals with BED significantly increased their weight and body mass index, similarly to BN, and in contrast to the AN and OSFED groups. Finally, we failed to find significant differences between groups of age although the younger group described a significant worsening of the eating symptoms during lockdown. Conclusions: This study reports a psychopathological impairment in patients with EDs during lockdown, being socio-cultural aspects potential modulatory factors. Individualized approaches to detect special vulnerable groups and long-term follow-ups are still needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2023


  • COVID-19 isolation eating scale (CIES)
  • Eating disorders
  • Lockdown
  • Mood disturbances
  • Transcultural study


Dive into the research topics of 'Eating disorders during lockdown: the transcultural influence on eating and mood disturbances in Ibero-Brazilian population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this