Background: In response to COVID-19 there have been lockdowns and restrictions to hospitality services. Drinking behaviours often change in response to traumatic events and changes in the drinking environment, and this is influenced by a range of factors. This study explores self-reported changes in alcohol consumption in the third month of the UK lockdown, associations with socio-demographics factors and with COVID-19 related concerns, and mental health and wellbeing.

Methods: The COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Study was a longitudinal, online, three-wave survey of 1958 UK adults. Data were collected during the first UK lockdown; wave 1 launched March 23rd 2020, wave 2 was one month after and wave 3 two months after completion of wave 1A hierarchical multinomial regression model was estimated to investigate factors associated with changes in perceived alcohol consumption in the third month of the lockdown.

Results: The majority of participants reported changes in drinking (62%) with over one third indicating increased consumption. Student status and worries about the financial implications of COVID-19 were associated with lower odds of decreased alcohol consumption. Those with above average income and those with children in the household had lower odds of increased alcohol consumption, while younger adults had higher odds of increased alcohol consumption.

Conclusion: This study adds to the growing body of research showing changes in alcohol consumption behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, and identifies risk and protective factors which can aid in targeting intervention at those most in need of support.


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Cite as

McAloney-Kocaman, K., McPherson, K., McGlinchey, E. & Armour, C. 2022, 'Factors associated with changing alcohol consumption during the first UK lockdown', European Journal of Public Health. https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/publications/96b6dfd6-a056-409b-8a02-b7de70cfe0ab

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Last updated: 01 October 2022
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