Americans over the age of 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic compared to this time last year, researchers found.
The Rand Corporation researchers’ findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by about 14% from 2019, averaging to one additional drinking day per month by 75%, CNN reported.
The report, authored by Rand Corporation sociologist Michael Pollard and his colleagues, probed a nationally representative sample of 1,540 people ages 30 to 80. Those sampled completed a survey about their drinking habits between April 29 and June 9 of 2019 and then again from May 28 to June 20 this year.
The participants reported drinking alcohol on more days every week and revealed increases in the number of drinks they consumed, the number of heavy drinking days, and the number of alcohol-related problems over the past 30 days between 2019 and 2020. Drinking frequency increased by 17% among women, 19% among people aged 30 to 59 and by 10% among whites.
Considerable drinking among women increased by 41% — about one additional day of heavy drinking for one in every five women — and nearly one in 10 women, or 39%, reported an increase in alcohol-related problems, according to the researchers, CNN reported.
“At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviors, mental health issues and violence,” the World Health Organization said in April, CNN reported.