Research shows that mothers’ alcohol use has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to a small study of Ohio women, mothers drank less alcohol as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, but a different outcome that worries researchers more.
The findings show an increased number of drinks per day for mothers in the wake of the pandemic, raising concerns that mothers may be more likely to get intoxicated when they drink.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly stressful for parents, who have had to work from home,” said Bridget Freisthler, study co-author and professor of social work at Ohio State University. have to take care of the children.
“Our study provides a glimpse into how some mothers use alcohol to cope during a pandemic.”
Freisthler conducted the study with Jennifer Price Wolf, an associate professor of social work at San Jose State University. Their research was recently published in the journal Alcohol and alcoholism.
Researchers recruited 266 mothers in central Ohio for parenting studies between April and May 2020 when Ohio implemented a stay-at-home order because of the pandemic. Participants, all with children aged 2 to 12, were recruited through social media and word of mouth, so it’s not a random sample.
Most of the sample consisted of white, educated, and married women.
The mothers participated in three waves of the study: the first in the spring of 2020 and another at the same time in 2021 and 2022.
Overall, 77.8% of mothers reported alcohol use in all three studies.
This study did not have data from before COVID-19, but previous research has shown that women’s alcohol use has increased after the start of the pandemic.
Additionally, other research shows that alcohol consumption among women has increased over the past two decades, particularly among women. white woman and highly educated people, Freisthler said.
The results of this new study show that, among women who used alcohol, participants drank an average of 9.2 days in the previous 28 days when they started to exercise the stay-at-home order in 2022.
The frequency of drinking decreased to 6.95 days in 2021 and remained the same in 2022.
Total intake also decreased from 2020 to the last two years of the study.
However, the average number of drinks per day increased from 1.47 in 2020 to 1.65 in 2021 and remained stable at 1.61 in 2022.
“We don’t expect the number of drinks per day to increase throughout the duration of the pandemic, even if they drink less frequently,” Freisthler said.
The study could not explain why changes in alcohol use occurred during the pandemic.
But Freisthler said the results were worrisome, especially considering the growing trend of drinking among women even before the pandemic began.
“We have got alcohol use went up, and then we have this epidemic added mandatory confinement and social distancing to the already difficult job of parenting,” she said.
“It is not surprising that some mothers may have used Alcohol to help them cope, but we know that drunkenness drink alcohol can especially have an adverse effect on parenting.”
Bridget Freisthler et al, Longitudinal changes in alcohol consumption by self-reported mothers during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Alcohol and alcoholism (2022). DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agac064
Ohio State University
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