May 10, 2022

Study: Divergent drinking patterns acquired by US adults during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

In this study from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, researchers identify distinct demographic subpopulations with diverging drinking trajectories during the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 8,130 US adults were surveyed biweekly from March 2020 to January 2021 on their past-week alcohol drinking frequency and intensity.

Though most US adults surveyed maintained stable patterns of drinking, 20.5% increased their drinking frequency, and 6.9% increased their binge drinking during the pandemic, and these subpopulations never returned to their baseline levels.

More males, Whites, middle-aged/older adults, college degree recipients, those consistently working, and those above the poverty line increased their drinking frequency.

More males, Whites, nonmarried individuals, those without a college degree, 18 to 39-year-olds, and middle aged adults increased their binge drinking.

If heightened drinking patterns acquired during COVID-19 persisted, alcohol use disorder, alcohol-related injury, and other alcohol-related problems could become public health concerns, the authors note.


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