Over a third of the people of the United Kingdom has changed their alcohol use during COVID-19 according to a large study done by the University College London (UCL). Most have increased their alcohol use with men having more alcohol during the pandemic than women. However, contrasting previous UK data heavy alcohol users from the year before were found to have reduced their use.

Founded in 1826 in the heart of London, UCL is London’s leading multidisciplinary university, with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries. 

According to the COVID-19 Social Study by UCL,

  • Over a third of people (34.4%) reported a change in their alcohol use over the last year.
  • Out of those nearly half (49.1%) say they are currently having more alcohol compared to March/April 2020.
  • Men were more likely to report an increase in alcohol consumption than women (51.6% of men vs 46.6% of women).
  • People of all ages had increased their alcohol use.
  • Alcohol use decreased among the 7.5% of people studied who reported heavy use (15+ units a week) a year ago.
  • Overall, two fifths (40.1%) of people using alcohol heavily reported decreasing their alcohol intake.
  • Nine in ten (91.5%) of young adults (aged 18-29) who were consuming alcohol heavily a year ago have reported a decrease; for people with heavy alcohol use aged 30 to 59 years the decrease was 37.5% and for those aged 60+ it was 35.5%.
Many Brits report increasing alcohol use during pandemic
The COVID-19 Social Study by UCL, found that out of those who changed their alcohol use over the past year, nearly half (49.1%) say they are currently having more alcohol compared to March/April 2020.

Previous data from the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) in the UK showed that there was an increase in the number of heavy alcohol users during COVID-19. The new data show perhaps the trend is decreasing now for those using alcohol heavily. However, since the pandemic is ongoing conclusions cannot be drawn yet.

Our report shows that during the pandemic, alcohol consumption has increased for many.” said Dr. Elise Paul, lead author of the study from UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health, as per UCL News.

Dr. Elise Paul, lead author of the study, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health

The study also shows that happiness and life satisfaction has been increasing among respondents since the end of January this year. However, this improvement is unequal. While happiness and life satisfaction has increased for all groups for people living alone, women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and those with lower household incomes this is still lower than for others.

The ongoing UCL COVID-19 Social Study is the UK’s largest study into how adults are feeling about the lockdown, government advice and overall wellbeing and mental health. The study follows over 70,000 participants across the last 56 weeks. It is funded by the Nuffield Foundation with additional support from Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Source Website: UCL News