Psychological Stressors Predicting Increased Drinking During the COVID-19 Crisis: A Longitudinal National Survey Study of Workers in Finland
The global crisis caused by the outbreak of a novel coronavirus rapidly increased working remotely in many countries. The aim of this study was to analyze psychological stressors predicting increased [alcohol use] during the COVID-19 crisis. Also, individual and socio-demographic differences were analyzed.
A nationally representative sample of Finnish workers (N = 1308) was collected before the crisis in September–October 2019 and 82.02% of them responded to a follow-up survey conducted in March–April 2020. Increased [alcohol use] was the outcome variable and it was measured with the AUDIT-C before and during the COVID-19 crisis. Predictors measured before the crisis included cyberbullying victimization at work, psychological distress, burnout and work climate. Additional measures included personality factors, socio-demographic factors and occupational information.
One-fourth of Finnish workers (25.37%) reported increased [alcohol use] during the COVID-19 crisis. Cyberbullying victimization at work and psychological distress before the crisis predicted increased [alcohol use] during the crisis. Conscientious workers and those working in educational and health and welfare sectors were less likely to increase [alcohol use], while increased [alcohol use] was most common among workers under 30 years of age.
Psychological stressors are risk factors for increased [alcohol use] in unusual times such as the COVID-19 crisis. Cyberbullying victimization at work and psychological distress were found as major risk factors. The results suggest that preventive work should be done at workplaces. This is particularly important if alcohol consumption is used as a means of coping during a stressful time.