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Mediating factors explain anxiety experienced by women with obesity during the Covid-19 pandemic

Urdapilleta, Isabel, El Khoury, Lionel, Catheline, Jean-Marc, Lahlou, Saadi ORCID: 0000-0001-8114-7271 and Demarchi, Samuel (2023) Mediating factors explain anxiety experienced by women with obesity during the Covid-19 pandemic. PLOS ONE, 18 (12). ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0295034


The Covid-19 pandemic could be a source of great anxiety, especially for those at higher risk, such as women experiencing obesity. The aim of this study was to measure how some personal characteristics such as BMI (from underweight to class 3 obesity), bariatric surgery (yes or no), comorbidities, or age (as antecedent variables), and mediating factors impacted state anxiety during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Mediating factors were related to subjective knowledge or attitudes (e.g. interest or beliefs and practices around Covid-19, subjective health perception, and confidence in the government). French women (N = 532) were invited to take part in a voluntary online health survey during lockdown in Paris and its suburbs. Results showed that women with higher BMI had higher anxiety scores, primarily because they feel less healthy than other people. Secondly, the larger the body size of the participants was (BMI), the less they reported that information about Covid-19 held their attention. This lack of interest resulted in feelings of anxiety not being generated. Thirdly, the larger their body size was, the less confidence they had in the effectiveness of the proposed measures by the government and therefore, the more anxious they were. Finally, older age predicted higher interest in the pandemic, higher subjective health, and higher confidence in the government. Identifying obesity as a potential risk factor for anxiety disorders is crucial, but measuring the relationship between state anxiety and personal characteristics (e.g. BMI) requires considering mediating variables (e.g. subjective health perception). To reduce anxiety in women with obesity, it appears necessary to focus on psychological programs that can help them improve their perception of their health, as well as the confidence they may have in institutions, especially for younger women.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2024 12:45
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:30

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