Alcohol consumption during the covid-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey of us adults
Emerging but limited evidence suggests that alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study assessed: (1) whether drinking behaviors changed during the pandemic; and, (2) how those changes were impacted by COVID-19-related stress. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey with a convenience sample of U.S. adults over 21 years in May 2020. We conducted adjusted linear regressions to assess COVID-19 stress and alcohol consumption, adjusting for gender, race, ethnicity, age, and household income. A total of 832 responded: 84% female, 85% White, and 72% ages 26–49. Participants reported consuming 26.8 alcohol drinks on 12.2 of the past 30 days. One-third of participants (34.1%) reported binge drinking and 7.0% reported extreme binge drinking. Participants who experienced COVID-19-related stress (versus not) reported consuming more drinks (β = 4.7; CI (0.2, 9.1); p = 0.040) and a greater number of days drinking (β = 2.4; CI (0.6, 4.1); p = 0.007). Additionally, 60% reported increased drinking but 13% reported decreased drinking, compared to pre-COVID-19. Reasons for increased drinking included increased stress (45.7%), increased alcohol availability (34.4%), and boredom (30.1%). Participants who reported being stressed by the pandemic consumed more drinks over a greater number of days, which raises concerns from both an individual and public health perspective.