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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

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.

Funding

Funding for this study was provided by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP200100496. This work was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and by a La Trobe University Graduate Research Scholarship awarded to YMP. ML is supported by an Australian Research Council grant (FT210100656) and AP is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (190101074). The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research is co-funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, an independent, charitable organization working to prevent the harmful use of alcohol in Australia (http://www.fare.org.au). None of the funding mentioned above had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

History

Publication Date

2022-12-01

Journal

Addictive Behaviors

Volume

135

Article Number

107439

Pagination

7p.

Publisher

Elsevier

ISSN

0306-4603

Rights Statement

© 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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