Coronaviruses are a group of viruses adapted from the family of Coronavidae that has caused a change in the lives: Factors Influencing Perceived Stress and Its Impact Towards Food Consumption Behaviour During The Pandemic Assignment, MSU, Malaysia


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Factors Influencing Perceived Stress and Its Impact Towards Food Consumption Behaviour During The Pandemic

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Coronaviruses are a group of viruses adapted from the family of Coronavidae that have caused a change in the lives of individuals since 2019. The Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has deeply affected almost all sectors, especially the economy and health system, in an unprecedented way and has disrupted and impacted the lives and behaviors of individuals globally, varying at different points in a lifespan.

In particular, the challenges that occurred in the lifestyle of individuals such as working from home, homeschooling, and unemployment have influenced the lifestyle and behavior practices of individuals, resulting in a negative impact on their food consumption patterns. This is further explained by Shu Fen, (2021), who defined that the pandemic has been associated with negative attitude changes that involve unhealthy food consumption containing increased high-fat, high-sugar food, fast food, and snacks.

Food consumption is an essential human need that is easily influenced by many factors such as religious influences, socio-demographics, food-related personality traits, exposure or past experience, and motivational factors that are triggered at various times of the day. This includes the availability of the product, the salience of the food, and the size of the portion as well.

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There are several factors that cause changes in food habits such as product features and natural contents, economic issues, identity and sensory appeal, mood, weight control, stress and health, and convenience of fast food access explained by Theodoridou et al. These factors make individuals experience changes in perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Poor food consumption resulted in an increased prevalence of stress and hypertension. Change in food consumption patterns is highly influenced by perceived stress. This study focuses on the influence of perceived stress on the food consumption pattern.

Perceived stress is defined as an individual’s ability to interpret life events as overwhelming and uncontrollable (Limcaoco,2020). Manning, (2020) further explained that perceived stress emphasizes the extent to which an individual believes they have control against unexpected or difficult events or emotions arising from situations faced such as illness, isolation, and economic or financial changes.

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Stress experienced during the pandemic affects their health or quality of lifestyle problems. These include the use of masks, restrictions, working from home, homeschooling, unemployment, future career anxiety, depression, and job insecurity. These problems lead to the emergence of less healthy habits such as inactive lifestyles and substance abuse such as food addiction (Rolland, 2020).

This is further defenced by Errisuriz et al.,(2016) who explained among a diverse group of students, consumption of unhealthy foods like soda, coffee, energy drinks, and fast food was positively associated with perceived stress. Perceived stress is caused by many factors such as depression, anxiety, job dissatisfaction, psychological problems as well as physiological issues. This study will be focusing on job insecurity, future career anxiety, and depression.

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