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Home > Characterising the patterns of and factors associated with increased alcohol consumption since COVID-19 in a UK sample.

Oldham, Melissa and Garnett, Claire and Brown, Jamie and Kale, Dimitra and Shahab, Lion and Herbec, Aleksandra (2021) Characterising the patterns of and factors associated with increased alcohol consumption since COVID-19 in a UK sample. Drug and Alcohol Review, Early online, . doi: 10.1111/dar.13256.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/d...

INTRODUCTION: To examine changes in drinking patterns and to assess factors associated with reported increases in frequency of drinking, units consumed and frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) during the UK lockdown.

METHODS: Online cross-sectional survey of 2777 self-selected UK adults.

RESULTS: Thirty percent of participants reported drinking more frequently in lockdown, 16% reported drinking more units per drinking occasion and 14% reported more frequent HED. For men and women, increased frequency of drinking was associated with being less likely to believe alcohol drinking would lead to greater chance of catching COVID-19 (men: OR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.98, 1.00; women: OR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.99, 1.00) and deterioration in psychological wellbeing (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.04, 1.54; OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.11, 1.51); increased unit consumption was associated with deterioration in financial situation (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.21, 1.86; OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.05, 1.64) and physical health (OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.67; OR = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.31, 2.10). Finally, increases in the frequency of HED were associated with deterioration in psychological wellbeing (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.25, 2.18; OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.17, 1.82) and being furloughed (OR = 3.25, 95% CI = 1.80, 5.86; OR = 2.06, 95% CI = 1.19, 3.56). Other gender differences were detected, for example, living with children was associated with an increase in units consumed (OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.73) and the frequency of HED (OR = 2.40, 95% CI = 1.44, 3.99) for men, but not women.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: In this self-selected UK sample, a significant proportion of individuals reported drinking more frequently in lockdown, drinking more units per drinking occasion and more frequent HED. There were consistent predictors of increased consumption across men and women, but other gender differences were detected. This study identifies groups that may require targeted support in future lockdowns.


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