The impact of Facebook use on self-reported eating disorders during the COVID-19 lockdown

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Background: The social isolation due to the COVID-19-related lockdown has had an impact on social media consumption around the world. This study examines the relationship between fear of COVID-19, Facebook use and disordered eating. Methods: Structural Equation Modeling was used to analyse two-wave survey data (T0: Italian first lockdown; T1: after two months) during the pandemic. Young adults with self-reported dysfunctional eating behaviors (N = 115; 91.3% females; mean age = 28.60 ± 7.31) were recruited to complete an online survey at T0; 66 participants (92.4% females; mean age = 28.85 ± 7.85) completed the survey at T1. They were assessed on Facebook use, dysfunctional eating cognitions, and fear of COVID-19. Results: Participants’ disordered eating cognitions increased during the pandemic. At T0, higher fear of COVID-19 was positively associated to time spent on Facebook, which in turn predicted disordered eating cognitions at T1. Moreover, maladaptive Facebook use mediated the relationship between daily time on Facebook and Shape concerns. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest an influence of dysfunctional Facebook use in increasing disordered eating cognitions during the pandemic.




Mannino, G., Salerno, L., Bonfanti, R. C., Albano, G., & Lo Coco, G. (2021). The impact of Facebook use on self-reported eating disorders during the COVID-19 lockdown. BMC Psychiatry, 21(1).

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