September 28, 2022

Binge drinking by young Black, White women increases COVID-19 risk

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Rutgers University finds that Black and White women in their mid 20s who reported frequent binge drinking during the pandemic were more likely to become infected with COVID-19.

The researchers examined seven subgroups of 938 young Black and White women ranging from ages 25 to 28 who showed similar patterns of substance use before and during the pandemic. The groups included those with low substance use, occasional binge drinking, cannabis use, occasional binge drinking and cannabis use, binge drinking and cannabis use, cigarette or e-cigarette use combined with binge drinking, and polysubstance use. The researchers also looked at characteristics that were linked to these patterns of substance use, such as socioeconomic status, COVID-19 infection status, and COVID-19 impact on mental health and financial situation.

The results showed that young Black and White women who reported binge drinking (ie, four or more drinks in one sitting) had the highest prevalence of COVID-19 among all of the subgroups. The results also showed that those who used more than one drug were more likely to report pandemic-related psychological health and job or income loss.

The profiles identified can inform tailored interventions to address disparities associated with risk for COVID-19 infection and its intersection with specific patterns of substance use, the researchers say.

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