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1503198_Mojica-Perez,Y_2024.pdf (1.04 MB)

How did COVID-19 restrictions impact alcohol consumption in Australia? A longitudinal study

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Introduction: The state of Victoria experienced more stringent public health measures than other Australian states during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study investigated how these public health measures impacted: (i) total alcohol consumption; (ii) location-specific consumption; and (iii) consumption among different pre-pandemic drinking groups, in Victoria compared to the rest of Australia during the first year of the pandemic. Method: A longitudinal study with six survey waves was conducted between April and December 2020. A total of 775 adults completed data on alcohol use, including detailed consumption location information. Based on their 2019 consumption, participants were classified into low, moderate or high-risk groups. Data were analysed descriptively. Results: There was no difference in total alcohol consumption from 2019 levels among Victorians and those from the other Australian states when Victoria was the only state in lockdown. Location-specific consumption was relatively similar for Victoria and the rest of Australia, with an increase in home drinking, and a decrease in consumption in someone else's home, licensed premises and public spaces during lockdown compared with 2019. Participants in the high-risk group reported a reduction of two standard drinks per day in November 2020 compared with 2019. In contrast, consumption remained relatively stable for participants in the low and moderate-risk groups once accounting for regression to the mean. Discussion and Conclusion: Contrary to expectations, restrictions on licensed premises appeared to impact high-risk drinkers more than low and moderate-risk drinkers. Reducing availability of on-premise alcohol may be an effective way to reduce consumption in heavier drinkers.


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 awarded to YMP. ML is supported by an Australian Research Council grant (FT210100656). The funders 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.


Publication Date



Drug and Alcohol Review






10p. (p. 465-474)





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© 2024 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.