Dr Ornella Corazza

A cross-sectional and cross-cultural study on the impact of COVID-19 on body image, the use of enhancement drugs and other disorders

The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is posing new critical challenges on mental health, especially among the most vulnerable, due to (a)  widespread social alarm, with overall increase of anxiety states, somatic concerns and mood sensitivity; (b) long lasting‚ physical distancing‚ as a result of public health protection measures or voluntary conduct. In a period of uncertainty, certain rewarding behaviours, such as exercise, the use of the Internet in terms of gaming, gambling, shopping, news checking, porn watching, the consumption of drugs, among other coping strategies might have increased considerably. Although some of these potentially addictive behaviours might be beneficial and help individuals to alleviate stress and difficult thoughts, they might also contribute to severely impaired and long-lasting conditions, including the development into habits that are difficult to break. In this presentation the preliminary results of a multi-centre (8 countries) and cross-sectional investigation on such issues led by Dr Ornella Corazza and her team at the University of Hertfordshire will be presented. Results will inform prompt public health interventions, regulatory policies as well as facilitate prompt and reliable diagnosis and better health promotion. The study was supported by the Internet and Me Project Funded by the COST Action at the European Commission.

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