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Changes in drinking days among United States adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

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posted on 2022-01-21, 00:08 authored by CD Nordeck, KE Riehm, EJ Smail, C Holingue, JC Kane, RM Johnson, CB Veldhuis, LG Kalb, EA Stuart, F Kreuter, Johannes ThrulJohannes Thrul
Aims: To examine changes in drinking behavior among United States (US) adults between March 10 and July 21, 2020, a critical period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: Longitudinal, internet-based panel survey. Setting: The Understanding America Study (UAS), a nationally representative panel of US adults age 18 or older. Participants: A total of 4298 US adults who reported alcohol use. Measurements: Changes in number of reported drinking days from March 11, 2020 through July 21, 2020 in the overall sample and stratified by sex, age, race/ethnicity, household structure, poverty status, and census region. Findings: Compared with March 11, the number of drinking days per week was significantly higher on April 1 by an average of 0.36 days (95% CI = 0.30, 0.43), on May 1 by an average of 0.55 days (95% CI = 0.47, 0.63), on June 1 by an average of 0.41 days (95% CI = 0.33, 0.49), and on July 1 by an average of 0.39 days (95% CI = 0.31, 0.48). Males, White participants, and older adults reported sustained increases in drinking days, whereas female participants and individuals living under the federal poverty line had attenuated drinking days in the latter part of the study period. Conclusions: Between March and mid-July 2020, adults in the United States reported increases in the number of drinking days, with sustained increases observed among males, White participants, and older adults.


The Understanding America Study is funded from several sources, including the Social Security Administration and the National Institute on Aging (5U01AG054580). The survey that collected alcohol use and COVID-19 related data used in this paper was funded by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California and received substantial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Work on the current manuscript was also supported by a RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation (2028683) and by a Capital Group COVID-19 Response Fund Grant. C.D.N. was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training Program (T32DA007292). K.E.R. was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health Mental Health Services and Systems Training Program (5T32MH109436-03) and by a Doctoral Foreign Study Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. C.B.V.'s participation in this research was made possible through an NIH/NIAAA Ruth Kirschstein Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (F32AA025816). J.C.K.'s participation in this research was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (K01AA026523).


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© 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited.