Covid-19 perceived impact and psychological variables as predictors of unhealthy food and alcohol consumption trajectories: The role of gender and living with children as moderators
The present study examines the trajectories of unhealthy food and alcohol consumption over time and considers whether perceived impact of COVID-19 and psychological variables are predictors of these trajectories. We ascertained whether these predictors are different in women vs. men and between women living with vs. without children. Data were collected through online surveys administered to 1038 participants from two universities (staff and students) in Chile, across five waves (July to October 2020). Participants provided information about their past-week unhealthy food and alcohol consumption and mental health. Using latent growth curve modeling analysis, we found that higher perceived health and interpersonal COVID-19 impact, younger age and lower depression symptoms were associated with more rapid increases over time in unhealthy food consumption. On the other hand, higher perceived COVID-19 economic impact and older age were associated with more rapid diachronic decreases in alcohol consumption. Gender and living with or without children, for women only, were moderators of these trajectories. This longitudinal study provides strong evidence identifying the multiple repercussions of COVID-19 and mental health factors on unhealthy food and alcohol consumption. These findings highlight the need for interventions aimed at minimizing the impact of the pandemic on unhealthy food and alcohol consumption over time.