Pandemic restrictions reshape alcohol habits in Australia

By Our Reporter
Representational Photo by OurWhisky Foundation on Unsplash

La Trobe University’s Centre for Alcohol and Policy Research has conducted a comprehensive longitudinal study involving 775 participants, spanning six survey waves from April to December 2020. The research focused on analysing alcohol consumption patterns in Victoria compared to the rest of Australia during the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the findings published today in Drug and Alcohol Review, the researchers discovered several noteworthy trends. Notably, during the second lockdown in Victoria, there was a surprising absence of divergence in changes in alcohol consumption between Victorians and individuals from other Australian states. This occurred despite only participants from Victoria being subjected to lockdown measures.

Lead author and PhD student, Yvette Mojica Perez from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University, provided insights into the study’s outcomes. She remarked, “This is one of the 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.”

Mojica Perez continued, highlighting a noteworthy aspect of the research, “The COVID-19 restrictions seemed to have had a more significant impact on high-risk drinkers who reported reducing their consumption, while consumption for moderate and low-risk drinkers remained relatively stable.” These findings shed light on the differential effects of pandemic restrictions on various segments of the population, emphasising the importance of considering individual risk profiles in understanding alcohol consumption patterns during times of crisis.

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