The results are published as a research letter in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Effects of the Pandemic
"We've had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic," said Michael Pollard, lead author of the study and a sociologist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
"Alcohol consumption can have significant negative health consequences, so this information suggests another way that the pandemic may be affecting the physical and mental health of Americans," Pollard said.
Be Aware of the Risks
Researchers say that the alcohol spike seen among women, younger adults and non-Hispanic White individuals highlights the need for primary care providers, behavioral health providers and family members to be aware of the risks of increased alcohol use and heavy drinking during the pandemic.
The findings also suggests that future research should examine whether increases in alcohol use persist as the pandemic continues, and whether psychological and physical well-being are subsequently affected.
The study is based on a survey of 1,540 adults who are members of the RAND American Life Panel, a nationally representative internet panel. Participants were surveyed about their alcohol consumption during the Spring of 2019 and again in Spring 2020 during the early months of the pandemic shutdown.