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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-138

Perceived stress and emotional overeating during COVID-19 pandemic

1 Department of Psychiatry, KAHER's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka, India
2 Professor and Dean, International Management Institute, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bheemsain Tekkalaki
Department of Psychiatry, KAHER's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belagavi - 590 010, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_18_21

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Background: Obesity due to inappropriate eating habits, including overeating, has recently been discussed during this COVID pandemic crisis in the context of stress. Emotional overeating (EOE) is sometimes considered as a strategy for emotion regulation. Considering this fact, this study used a snowball technique to analyze the prevalence of EOE caused due to stress during this pandemic situation. Methodology: The present cross-sectional online study of 607 respondents across all regions of India attempts to assess the perceived stress levels during COVID-19, evaluate their tendency to engage in emotional eating, and examine the relationship between perceived stress and emotional eating during COVID-19 situation. Results: Stress perception is significantly associated with EOE and such phenomenon is marginally more prominent in females more than males. A negative association of age, though weak (r = −0.34, p< 0.05), has been found with both perceived stress levels and EOE, signifying that the youngsters are more prone to stress and overeating than older persons, during these COVID times. The study also evidenced that people with psychiatric conditions are significantly more affected than others. Similarly, the average EOE scores for such persons were also higher, and they may be more vulnerable to emotional eating. Conclusion: EOE is significantly associated with perceived stress; the association is more prominent in females. Younger people and people with mental illness display significantly more emotional eating behavior during stress.

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