Since the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lockdown periods have been installed to counteract the spread of the virus. These lockdowns, characterized by social isolation, have been associated with mood changes and increased stress. Individuals have used various strategies to cope with the negative effects of being in lockdown, including increasing the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate mood before and during lockdown of individuals who reported consuming more, less, or the same amount of alcohol during lockdown, and examine how this impacts and perceived immune fitness and the presence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Analysis included a sub-sample from the ‘Corona Lockdown: how fit are you?’ (CLOFIT) study, comprising N = 761 participants who reported consuming alcohol in 2020. The results of the online survey showed that half of the participants did not alter their weekly alcohol consumption during lockdown (50.4%), whereas 25.9% of drinkers reported a reduction and 23.8% reported an increase in weekly alcohol consumption. Compared to individuals that did not alter their drinking behaviour, both increased and reduced alcohol consumption during lockdown was associated with poorer mood and higher stress levels. Increased alcohol consumption was associated with significantly reduced perceived immune fitness and a high presence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms. This effect was not significant among individuals with reduced or unaltered alcohol consumption.
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Merlo, A., Hendriksen, P., Severeijns, N., Garssen, J., Bruce, G. & Verster, J. 2021, 'Alcohol consumption patterns during COVID-19 lockdown and their relationship with perceived immune fitness and reported COVID-19 symptoms', Healthcare, 9(8), article no: 1039. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9081039