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Examining the relationship between alcohol consumption, psychological distress and COVID-19 related circumstances: An Australian longitudinal study in the first year of the pandemic
journal contributionposted on 2023-12-15, 00:42 authored by Yvette Mojica PerezYvette Mojica Perez, Michael LivingstonMichael Livingston, Amy PennayAmy Pennay, Sarah CallinanSarah Callinan
Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption, psychological distress and COVID-19 related circumstances (being in lockdown, working from home, providing home-schooling and being furloughed) over the first eight months of the pandemic in Australia. Method: A longitudinal study with six survey waves over eight months with a convenience sample of 770 participants. Participants were aged 18 or over, lived in Australia and consumed alcohol at least monthly. Demographic data was obtained in the first wave. Data on alcohol consumption, psychological distress (Kessler 10), and COVID-19 related circumstances (being in lockdown, working from home, providing home-schooling and being furloughed) were obtained in each survey wave. Results: Results from the fixed-effect bivariate regression analyses show that participants reported greater alcohol consumption when they had high psychological distress compared to when they had low psychological distress. Meanwhile, participants reported greater alcohol consumption when they worked from home compared to when they did not work from home. Participants also reported greater alcohol consumption when they provided home-schooling compared with when they did not provide home-schooling. The fixed-effect panel multivariable regression analyses indicated a longitudinal relationship between higher psychological distress and providing home-schooling on increased alcohol consumption. Conclusion: Broader drinking trends during the COVID-19 pandemic typically indicate increases and decreases in drinking among different members of the population. This study demonstrates that in Australia, it was those who experienced psychological distress and specific impacts of COVID-19 restrictions that were more likely to increase their drinking.