Individuals around the world have faced significant stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including stay-at-home orders, high rates of unemployment, and millions of deaths as of February 2021. Rodriguez et al. (2020) explored how perceived threat and psychological distress related to the COVID-19 pandemic are associated with drinking behavior among an American sample of adults. 754 participants were surveyed in the study, with 50% being men and 50% being women.
The study found that indices of COVID-19 related stress, particularly psychological distress, are associated with drinking behavior. It was also found that the use of alcohol to cope with distress is more relevant to women’s than men’s drinking. When levels of COVID-19 related distress was low, men displayed the usual pattern of drinking more than women. However, as distress related to COVID-19 increased, women’s drinking caught up with that of men. This is a concerning finding given that similar quantities of alcohol in women and men result in greater adverse effects for women, including liver and heart disease. Psychological distress related to COVID-19 was also related to increased drinking frequency and heavy drinking among both men and women. Finally, the study identified that the presence of children in the home during the pandemic was related to increased drinking behavior among American adults.
Rodriguez, L. M., Litt, D. M., & Stewart, S. H. (2020). Drinking to cope with the pandemic: The unique associations of COVID-19-related perceived threat and psychological distress to drinking behaviors in American men and women. Addictive behaviors, 110
James Bender, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern