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Longitudinal associations with alcohol consumption during the first COVID-19 lockdown: Associations with mood, drinking motives, context of drinking, and mental health

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • P Irizar
  • A Jones
  • P Christiansen
  • L Goodwin
  • SH Gage
  • G Knibb
  • R Cooke
  • AK Rose
Article number108913
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Coronavirus (COVID-19) resulted in lockdown measures in the UK, which has impacted alcohol use. Alcohol is often used as a coping mechanism and there are public health concerns regarding excessive consumption due to the pandemic. We aimed to longitudinally assess drinking behaviors, and associated factors, during the first UK government-mandated lockdown.

An online survey was distributed through social media (8th April 2020, onwards). Fortnightly follow up surveys were emailed to participants. The primary outcome measure was ‘weekly unit consumption’ and data was collected on a range of potentially related factors: demographics, factors relating to COVID-19 (e.g., health, work status), drinking motives, context of drinking, drinking intentions, mood, depression and anxiety.

A total of 539 self-selected participants completed the baseline survey, with 186 completing at least 3 follow up surveys for multilevel modelling analysis. Personal coping motives, anxiety, drinking at home alone, and drinking at home with others were positively associated with alcohol consumption during lockdown. The following baseline measures also predicted increased consumption: male gender, lower education, and higher AUDIT scores (based on behavior prior to lockdown). Findings were consistent when utilizing an inverse probability weight to account for predictors of attrition (female, younger age, higher baseline AUDIT scores).

Those already drinking at hazardous levels were more likely to increase their consumption, as were those who were drinking to cope. As we recover from the pandemic, there is a need for widespread alcohol support, and certain groups may need targeted support.