HumanInsight The emotional-behavioral state of Israeli adolescent and young adult females with anorexia nervosa during the COVID19 pandemic
J Eat Disord. 2022 Oct 8;10(1):145. doi: 10.1186/s40337-022-00668-w.
BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, the number of patients with eating disorders (EDs) seeking treatment increased significantly. The present study sought to evaluate whether, during the pandemic (2020-21), patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) would show more ED-related, comorbid, and COVID-19-related symptoms in comparison to a naturalistic control group, and whether differences would be found between adult and adolescent patients with AN. We also examined attitudes to telemedicine use during the pandemic in patients receiving long-distance interventions.
METHODS: Using online self-report questionnaires, we assessed general and COVID-19-specific symptoms with a secure digital platform (REDCap®) in 36 female adolescents with AN, 35 female adults with AN, and 25 female controls.
RESULTS: Compared with controls, patients with AN showed more symptoms of EDs, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), elevated suicidal ideation, more COVID-related emotional-behavioral disturbances, and lower resilience. Adult patients with AN fared worse than adolescent patients on most of these measures. Adult patients using telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic showed fewer positive attitudes toward this treatment than adolescents (telemedicine was offered to all, but used by 18/35 adolescents and 21/36 adults with AN). Last, elevated COVID-19-related symptomatology was correlated with more symptoms of ED, anxiety, depression and PTSD, and with lower resilience.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the emotional-behavioral state of Israeli females with AN, particularly adults, was worse during the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to controls. Many patients did not use telemedicine for their treatment. Adult patients using telemedicine were less satisfied with it than adolescent patients.
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