Check out this new Research Snapshot!
Changes in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada
Here is a sneak peek:
What you need to know?
There is evidence that large-scale disasters lead to emotional distress and increased substance use. Similar patterns have been observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcohol is the most used substance among Canadians during the pandemic. The risk of alcohol-related harms can be experienced from both acute and longer-term consumption. Alcohol sales were designated as an essential service during COVID-19 in many Canadian jurisdictions, and comparable patterns have been observed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland and Australia.
Canadian researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol use and emotional well-being among New Brunswick and Nova Scotia adults. To date, research in this area has been limited, with no population-based Canadian studies. This study found that individuals who reported increased feelings of stress, loneliness and hopelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to report increased drinking frequency.
What is this research about?
Individuals often use alcohol as a coping mechanism during times of stress. Studies have shown that emotional distress is associated with increased drinking frequency in both men and women. New and emerging evidence is now suggesting that alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase has potential long-term social and economic costs for individuals, communities and society.
Drawing on data from a cross-sectional survey of adults in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, this study examined:
- changes in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
- an association between drinking more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased feelings of stress, loneliness and hopelessness
- differences based on gender.
The research snapshot can be found in English here and French here