The purpose of this study was to assess differences in negative consequences resulting from pandemic-related school closures between autistic and neurotypical children. We predicted that more negative consequences overall would be reported for children with autism compared to neurotypical children. We also expected to observe differences in the types of stressors reported between these two groups, with disruptions to daily routines more commonly reported for children with autism and stress due to social isolation more commonly reported for neurotypical children. Participants were parents of school-aged children, ages of 4–15 years old, who responded to an online survey (N = 250). Parental perspectives were collected using the Covid-19 Adolescent Symptom and Psychological Experience Questionnaire (CASPE). Parents in the autism group were additionally asked to respond to a survey about autism-specific stressors which may have increased during the pandemic, such as behavioral concerns, therapy disruptions, and hygiene issues. The majority of the respondents (65%) were parents of children with autism and 35% were parents of neurotypical children. Parents of autistic children were more likely to report that their child was negatively affected by routine changes, whereas parents of neurotypical children were more likely to report that their child was affected by social isolation. Overall, parents of children with autism were more than three times as likely to report negative changes in their child compared to parents of neurotypical children. When asked about autism-specific stressors, parents of autistic children reported concerns related to hygiene, behavioral regression, therapy disruption, meltdowns, and returning to school. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged school closures have disrupted the lives of children. Our results indicate that children with autism are at greater risk for negative outcomes due to emergency-related school disruptions. These findings have implications for educational planning for this vulnerable population for future public health crises.
This study aimed to examine research findings related to depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also explored periodic changes in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia among the general people during this pandemic. We performed a meta-analysis by searching articles from several sources (PubMed, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar). We used the random-effects models, subgroup analysis, and heterogeneity test approaches. Results show that the prevalence of depression, stress, and insomnia increased during March to April 2020 (30.51%, 29.4%, and 25%, respectively) compared to the study period before February 2020 (25.25%, 16.27%, and 22.63%, respectively) and followed in May to June 2020 (16.47%, 5.1%, and 19.86, respectively). The prevalence of depression and anxiety from k = 30 studies was 28.18% (95% CI: 23.81–32.54) and 29.57% (95% CI: 24.67–34.47), respectively. And the prevalence of stress (k = 13) was 25.18% (95% CI: 14.82–35.54), and the prevalence of insomnia (k = 12) was 23.50% (95% CI: 16.44–30.57). These prevalence estimates during the pandemic are very high compared to normal times. Hence, the governments and policymakers should apply proven strategies and interventions to avoid psychological adversity and improve overall mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stigma and discrimination toward obese persons are pervasive and pose numerous consequences for their psychological and physical health. Despite decades of science documenting weight stigma, its public health implications are widely ignored. Instead, obese persons are blamed for their weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable and may motivate individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. We examine evidence to address these assumptions and discuss their public health implications. On the basis of current findings, we propose that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals threatens health, generates health disparities, and interferes with effective obesity intervention efforts. These findings highlight weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority for public health.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is unarguably the biggest catastrophe of the 21st century, probably the most significant global crisis after the second world war. The rapid spreading capability of the virus has compelled the world population to maintain strict preventive measures. The outrage of the virus has rampaged through the healthcare sector tremendously. This pandemic created a huge demand for necessary healthcare equipment, medicines along with the requirement for advanced robotics and artificial intelligence-based applications. The intelligent robot systems have great potential to render service in diagnosis, risk assessment, monitoring, telehealthcare, disinfection, and several other operations during this pandemic which has helped reduce the workload of the frontline workers remarkably. The long-awaited vaccine discovery of this deadly virus has also been greatly accelerated with AI-empowered tools. In addition to that, many robotics and Robotics Process Automation platforms have substantially facilitated the distribution of the vaccine in many arrangements pertaining to it. These forefront technologies have also aided in giving comfort to the people dealing with less addressed mental health complicacies. This paper investigates the use of robotics and artificial intelligence-based technologies and their applications in healthcare to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. A systematic search following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method is conducted to accumulate such literature, and an extensive review on 147 selected records is performed.
Drug overdoses surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the need for expanded and accessible substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Relatively little is known about the experiences of patients receiving treatment during the pandemic.
We worked with 21 harm reduction and drug treatment programs in nine states and the District of Columbia from August 2020 to January 2021. Programs distributed study recruitment cards to clients. Clients responded to the survey by calling a study hotline and providing a unique study identification number. Our survey included detailed questions about use of SUD treatment prior to and since the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified settings where individuals received treatment and, for those treated for opioid use disorder, we examined use of medications for opioid use disorder. Individuals also reported whether they had received telehealth treatment and pandemic related treatment changes (e.g., more take-home methadone). We calculated p-values for differences pre and since COVID-19.
We interviewed 587 individuals of whom 316 (53.8%) were in drug treatment both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals in treatment reported substantial reductions in in-person service use since the start of the pandemic, including a 27 percentage point reduction (p<.001) in group counseling sessions and 28 percentage point reduction in mutual aid group participation (p<.001). By contrast, individuals reported a 21 percentage point increase in receipt of overdose education (p<.001). Most people receiving medications for opioid use disorder reported taking methadone and had high continuity of treatment (86.1% received methadone pre-COVID and 87.1% since-COVID, p=.71). Almost all reported taking advantage of new policy changes such as counseling by video/phone, increased take-home medication, or fewer urine drug screens. Overall, respondents reported relatively high satisfaction with their treatment and with telehealth adaptations (e.g., 80.2% reported “I'm able to get all the treatment that I need”).
Accommodations to treatment made under the federal public health emergency appear to have sustained access to treatment in the early months of the pandemic. Since these changes are set to expire after the official public health emergency declaration, further action is needed to meet the ongoing need.
In addition to its immediate negative consequences, childhood sexual abuse is associated with lifelong deleterious mental and physical health outcomes. This review employs a biopsychosocial perspective to better understand pathways from childhood sexual abuse to eating disorders, food and drug addictions, and obesity across the life course. Guided by an updated conceptual model, this review delineates how the biological embedding of childhood sexual abuse triggers a cascade of interrelated conditions that often result in failed attempts at weight suppression and eventually obesity. Such biological embedding involves pathways such as inflammation, allostatic load, reward sensitivity, activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, epigenetics, and structural and functional changes in the brain. These pathways are in turn theorized to lead to food addiction, substance use disorder, and eating disorders—each with potential pathways toward obesity over time. Predisposing factors to childhood sexual abuse including gender, culture, and age are discussed. This model calls into question the longstanding “protective measure” theory that purports individuals exposed to sexual abuse will deliberately or subconsciously gain weight in attempt to prevent future victimization. A more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms by which childhood sexual abuse becomes biologically embedded may help clinicians and survivors normalize and/or address disordered eating and weight-related outcomes, as well as identify intervention strategies.
Several recent anti-obesity campaigns appear to embrace stigmatization of obese individuals as a public health strategy. These approaches seem to be based on the fundamental assumptions that (1) obesity is largely under an individual's control and (2) stigmatizing obese individuals will motivate them to change their behavior and will also result in successful behavior change. The empirical evidence does not support these assumptions: Although body weight is, to some degree, under individuals' personal control, there are a range of biopsychosocial barriers that make weight regulation difficult. Furthermore, there is accumulating evidence that stigmatizing obese individuals decreases their motivation to diet, exercise, and lose weight. Public health campaigns should focus on facilitating behavioral change, rather than stigmatizing obese people, and should be grounded in the available empirical evidence. Fundamentally, these campaigns should, first, do no harm.
In the present paper, we tested an objectification theory model including compliance with COVID-19 safety measures as an outcome. Safety measures recommended by governments and health organizations include monitoring one’s body and interpersonal and social distance from others. We contend that the diffuse safety anxiety stemming from sexual and self-objectification encourages targets to broadly adopt behaviors that protect against body-based dangers, including COVID-19. Accordingly, safety anxiety should predict greater compliance with COVID-19 safety measures. U.S. residents (N = 501) were recruited online and completed measures of sexual objectification, self-objectification, safety anxiety, appearance anxiety, and COVID-19 safety compliance. Two-step mediation analyses revealed a positive indirect effect of sexual objectification on safety anxiety through internalization of observers’ perspectives (self-objectification Factor 1); in turn, there was a positive indirect effect of internalized others on COVID-19 body-based safety compliance through safety anxiety. Moreover, women (vs. men) reported higher levels of sexual objectification, internalization of observers’ perspectives, safety anxiety, appearance anxiety, and COVID-19 safety measure compliance. Not only is safety anxiety relevant to cautionary behaviors protective against sexual objectification threat, but it also predicts compliance with measures that reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. Implications for objectification theory are discussed.
Anti-obesity efforts that rely on stigmatizing weight (eg, using harsh language or stereotypical portrayals of overweight individuals) may impede health promotion efforts, as weight stigma is often negatively related to behavior change and thus seems unlikely to result in weight loss.1 Indeed, considerable research underscores the detrimental effects of weight stigma on the physical health and well-being of children and adolescents,2 and nationally representative, longitudinal data show weight-based discrimination is associated with weight gain among older individuals.3 Although the childhood weight stigma literature frequently examines overt and often malicious behaviors (eg, bullying), stigma processes can begin when an individual experiences weight labeling.4 By labeling someone as overweight, the negative stereotypes, status loss, and mistreatment associated with this label may now be applicable to the individual. Recent research suggests that the negative psychological effects of weight stigma can begin when one is simply labeled as “too fat” by others.5 However, the relationship between weight labeling and weight gain remains unknown. Thus, we examined if weight labeling during childhood was related to the likelihood of having an obese body mass index (BMI) nearly a decade later.
With the roll-out of new technologies such as 5G, there has been renewed community concern regarding the adequacy of research on possible health effects from associated radiofrequency radiation, mainly in the millimetre wave (MMW) band.