A Cycle of Stress: a Study of Increased COVID-19 Exposure Through Body-focused Repetitive Behaviors
by Hannah Pescaru
Category: Humanities and Social Sciences
Abstract – Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), impacting up to 5% of the population, are behaviors in which a person uncontrollably fidgets with his or her own body in ways that leave physical harm. They can often be dismissed as bad habits; however, BFRBs are actual disorders and much harder to treat due to changes in brain anatomy and external stressors. These disorders leave the individual more susceptible to infection through his or her increased contact with the facial region and orifices. In a literature review and synthesis, a potential link between body- focused repetitive behaviors and COVID-19 exposure is discussed; the added stress and anxiety of contracting the virus results in an increase of severity and frequency for these disorders, which, in turn, further increases the risk of COVID-19 infection for this population. The end result is a complex cycle in which an individual is trapped between the stress of his or her conditions. Methods of prevention are also discussed in order to promote individual safety during the pandemic.