Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 period: May 2020

Published by
Australian National University

The aim of this paper is to analyse changes in alcohol consumption since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We show that the frequency of alcohol consumption during COVID-19 is slightly higher for males than it was 2-3 years previously, and substantially higher for females.

While Australians are more likely to say that their alcohol consumption has decreased than say that it has increased since the spread of COVID-19, self-reported increases in alcohol consumption were larger than in surveys prior to COVID-19.

There was a larger self-reported increase in alcohol consumption for females than males, with having a child caring role being a strong predictor of an increase in alcohol consumption for females. For males, on the other hand, it was a loss of job or a decline in hours worked which appears to be the strongest predictor of a (self-reported) increase in alcohol consumption.

For both sexes, but particularly for males, psychological distress in April 2020 was strongly associated with higher self-reported increases in alcohol consumption since the spread of COVID-19.