Poor health behaviors are on the rise and may be caused by Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, new research in Frontiers in Psychology finds.
According to researchers at the University of the West of Scotland, their findings suggest that negative health behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption, poor dietary habits, reduced sleep quality, and lack of physical activity, may lead to a deterioration in mental health.
“This study adds to reports on poor mental health during lockdown and identifies lifestyle restrictions and changes to health behaviours which may be responsible for higher negative mood,” Joanne Ingram, co-author of the study, stated in a press release.
“Our data suggests that it is advisable to maintain or improve health behaviours during pandemic-associated restrictions, which is important to highlight whilst restrictions are on-going.”
Funded by the Chief Scientist Office, the Scottish-based research group also uncovered that alcoholism was more common among those living with children and poor diet was more prevalent if affected by the pandemic.
“When the Scottish Government instigated the initial societal lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many subsequently experienced significant lifestyle changes, alongside the stresses of potentially catching the virus or experiencing bereavement,” Ingram explained.
“We know that stressful situations and poorer health behaviours, such as higher alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, poorer sleep quality and physical inactivity are frequently linked to poor mental health; however, our objective was to examine changes in health behaviours and their relationship with negative mood during the COVID-19 lockdown.”