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A new study sheds light on the increased frequency of alcohol consumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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″We’ve had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic.”

RAND Corporation's Michael S. Pollard, PhD, one of the authors of a new study showing Americans' alcohol intake frequency increased by 14% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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ABOUT THE STUDY

  • Published as a research letter in the journal JAMA Network Open.
  • 1,500+ U.S. adult participants, aged 30 – 80, were asked about their drinking habits during the spring of 2020 compared to the spring of 2019.
  • On average, the 14% increase reported translates to 75% of adults consuming alcohol 1 day more per month.
  • Study’s authors note that results are based on participants’ self-reporting.
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The alcohol consumption increase was most notable among two groups:

  • Females, with 17% reporting drinking alcohol more frequently
  • Those aged 30 to 59, with 19% reporting drinking alcohol more frequently

Additionally, women reported a 41% increase in heavy drinking (i.e., drinking 4 or more drinks within 2 hours).

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WHY IT MATTERS

  • In April, the World Health Org. recommended that people currently restrict their alcohol consumption b/c of its negative impacts, incl. on mental health & potential to compromise people’s immune systems.
  • The study’s author echoed similar concerns, noting the results suggest “another way that the pandemic may be affecting the physical and mental health of Americans.”
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Why are women drinking more frequently? This study doesn't say. Separately, a UK study found those with the greatest increase in mental distress during the pandemic included young adults (18-24), women, and those with small children.

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Read

Sources

Read the COVID-19 Alcohol Study HERE

Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population: READ MORE

“Our findings suggest that being young, a woman, and living with children, especially preschool age children, have had a particularly strong influence on the extent to which mental distress increased under the conditions of the pandemic.”