How COVID-19 restrictions impacted Australia’s alcohol consumption

Experts from La Trobe University’s Centre for Alcohol and Policy Research have undertaken a longitudinal study of 775 participants, with six survey waves between April and December 2020, examining alcohol consumption in Victoria compared to the rest of Australia during the first year of the pandemic.

Among the results published in Drug and Alcohol Review yesterday, the researchers found that during the second lockdown in Victoria, there was no difference in changes in alcohol consumption between Victorians and those from other Australian states, despite only participants from Victoria being in lockdown.

The results also revealed that pandemic restrictions had a bigger impact on consumption in high-risk drinkers than low and moderate-risk drinkers.

Lead-author of the study, PhD student Yvette Mojica Perez from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University, explained that the study was one of the first of its kind.

“This is one of few Australian longitudinal studies that explored alcohol consumption throughout the first year of the pandemic. Interestingly, we found that participants in Victoria decreased their consumption during the first nationwide lockdown while participants from the rest of Australia reported no change in consumption compared to 2019.”

“The COVID-19 restrictions seemed to have had a bigger impact on high-risk drinkers who reported reducing their consumption, while consumption for the moderate and low risk drinkers remained relatively stable.”

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