Alcohol in the Pandemic: Stable for Women, Declining for Men – 2022 – Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly

A new RAND study found that alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic declined among men, while it remained stable among women. In general, alcohol-related problems have increased during the pandemic, by 49% for women and 69% for men, but the reasons for the problems remain unclear. The results were published online last week by the journal Drug and alcohol addiction. “Both men and women are reporting an increase in the negative consequences of their alcohol use as the pandemic continues,” said Joan Tucker, lead study author and senior behavioral researcher at RAND, a research organization non-profit. “For men, this finding is particularly striking as the increase in alcohol-related problems during the pandemic was occurring even as there was a steady decline in the amount they drank.” An earlier RAND survey found that among women, there was a pronounced increase in the frequency of drinking days and binge drinking days from pre-pandemic to the onset of the pandemic. This study asked 1,118 people from the RAND American Life Panel about their alcohol consumption during three time periods – May to July 2020, October to November 2020, and March 2021. The study found that feelings of loneliness and motivations to consume alcohol during the pandemic may play a role in drinking patterns. For both men and women, stronger coping and social motivations for drinking at the start of the pandemic were associated with a higher initial level of alcohol consumption, and stronger coping motivations were associated with initial higher level of alcohol problems.

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