Altered alcohol consumption during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Altered alcohol consumption during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Publication type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Nutrition Journal
Date published
2021 05 11

BACKGROUND: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019, many countries around the world have imposed lockdown measures in order to reduce virus spread. Social isolation is known to have a significant psychological impact, potentially triggering alcohol misuse in adults. In our study, we aimed to investigate the effect of COVID-19 lockdown measures on alcohol consumption in adults in Bavaria.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled 2067 participants, with 1961 young adults (mean age 23.3 ± 4.1) and 106 mature adults (mean age 66.7 ± 9.7). Participants were asked to complete a standardized questionnaire, semi-quantitatively evaluating the alcohol drinking behaviour before and during the pandemic lockdown.

RESULTS: After implementation of lockdown, the alteration of alcohol consumption was significantly different between young and mature adults (p <  0.001). Among young adults, 42% reported unchanged drinking behaviour compared to 76% in the mature adult group; 44% of young adults reported to drink less compared to only 7% of mature adults. An increase in alcohol consumption was only reported by 14% of young adults and 17% of mature adults. Interestingly, in the entire cohort, the change of alcohol intake was most pronounced among moderate drinkers (> 0 to < 5 drinks/week) in both age groups (p <  0.001). Ordinal logistic regression revealed female sex, low BMI and younger age to be associated with a decrease in number of self-reported drinks/week.

CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown significantly affected alcohol drinking behaviour. Further studies exploring long-term effects on potential alcohol misuse and the relevance on public health are warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was retrospectively registered at ( NCT04361877 ) on April 24, 2020.