Factors associated with drinking behaviour during COVID-19 social distancing and lockdown among adults in the UK

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Feb 1;219:108461. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108461. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Abstract

Background: To assess what factors were associated with reported changes to usual alcohol drinking behaviour during the start of lockdown in the United Kingdom (UK).

Methods: Online cross-sectional survey of 30,375 adults in the UK from 21st March to 4th April 2020 (sample weighted). Logistic regression models were used to examine sociodemographic, drinking and COVID-19 factors associated with i) drinking less and ii) drinking more (versus same as usual).

Results: Of 22,113 drinkers, 48.1 % reported drinking about the same, 25.7 % reported drinking less, and 26.2 % reported drinking more than usual over the past week. Drinking less was independently associated with being younger (OR = 0.88, p < .001), male (OR = 0.76, p < .001), BAME (OR = 0.76, p = .028), low income (OR = 0.74, p < .001), having COVID-19 (OR = 2.04, p < .001), adhering to COVID-19 protective behaviours (OR = 1.58, p = .020), stress about becoming ill from COVID-19 (OR = 1.26, p = .004) and not being a key worker (OR = 0.87, p = .030). Drinking more was independently associated with being younger (OR = 0.73, p < .001), female (OR = 1.36, p < .001), post-16 qualifications (OR = 1.21, p = .012), high income (OR = 1.43, p < .001), stress about catching (OR = 1.22, p = .020) or becoming ill from COVID-19 (OR = 1.28, p < .001), stress about finances (OR = 1.43, p < .001), and having an anxiety disorder (OR = 1.24, p = .011).

Conclusions: In a large, population sample of adults in the UK, around a quarter of drinkers reported drinking more alcohol and a quarter drinking less than usual during the COVID-19 related lockdown. Certain groups, such as those who are younger, female, of high socioeconomic position, have an anxiety disorder, and are stressed about finances or COVID-19 may need targeted alcohol reduction support during lockdown.

Keywords: Alcohol; COVID-19; Changes; Drinkers; Drinking; UK.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Distancing*
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult