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Publication Detail
Factors associated with drinking behaviour during COVID-19 social distancing and lockdown among adults in the UK
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Garnett C, Jackson S, Oldham M, Brown J, Steptoe A, Fancourt D
  • Publisher:
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Aim: To assess what factors were associated with reported changes to usual alcohol drinking behaviour during the start of lockdown in the UK. / Design: Online cross-sectional survey from 21st March to 4th April 2020. / Setting: UK. / Participants: 30,375 adults aged ≥ 18y. / Measurements: Changes in drinking over the past week, sociodemographic characteristics, diagnosed or suspected COVID-19, adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviours, stress about COVID-19, finances or boredom, recent drop in household income, key worker status, and health conditions. / Findings: Of 22,113 drinkers (65.7% of analytic sample), 48.1% (95% CI=47.0-49.1%) reported drinking about the same as usual, 25.7% (24.8-26.6%) reported drinking less than usual, and 26.2% (25.4-27.1%) reported drinking more than usual over the past week. Drinking less than usual was independently associated with being younger (OR=0.88 [95% CI=0.83-0.93]), male (OR=0.76 [0.68-0.84]), of an ethnic minority (OR=0.76 [0.61-0.97]), low annual household income (OR=0.74 [0.66-0.83]), having diagnosed or suspected COVID-19 (OR=2.04 [1.72-2.41]), adhering to COVID-19 protective behaviours (OR=1.58 [1.08-2.32]), being significantly stressed about becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 (OR=1.26 [1.08-1.48]) and not being a key worker (OR=0.87 [0.76-0.99]). Drinking more than usual was independently associated with being younger (OR=0.73 [0.69-0.78]), female (OR=1.36 [1.22-1.51]), post-16 qualifications (OR=1.21 [1.04-1.40]), high annual household income (OR=1.43 [1.27-1.61]), being significantly stressed about catching (OR=1.22 [1.03-1.45]) or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 (OR=1.28 [1.10-1.48]), being significantly stressed about finances (OR=1.43 [1.24-1.66]), and having a diagnosed anxiety disorder (OR=1.24 [1.05-1.46]). / Conclusions: In a representative sample of adults in the UK, about half of drinkers reported drinking the same amount of alcohol as usual during the start of the COVID-19 related lockdown, with a quarter drinking more and a quarter drinking less than usual. Drinking more than usual was associated with being younger, female, high socioeconomic position, having an anxiety disorder, and being stressed about finances or COVID-19. These groups may benefit targeted alcohol reduction support if there are further periods of lockdown. / Registration: The analysis plan was pre-registered on Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/pnrhq/).
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