DEC 30, 2022 11:11 AM PST

Increased Drinking Among Mothers During Pandemic

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

Mothers may have consumed alcohol less frequently as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, but they engaged in more binge drinking. The findings published in Alcohol and Alcoholism showed that the number of drinks per day increased for moms later as the pandemic progressed. 

266 mothers in central Ohio participated in this study on parenting. Data was collected from April to May of 2020, when Ohio was under stay-at-home orders for the pandemic. Participants had children between 2 and 12 years of age, and were recruited via social media and word-of-mouth, so it was not a random sample. Most of the sample consisted of white, college educated, and married women. The mothers participated in three waves of the study: the first in spring 2020 and again at about the same time in 2021 and 2022.

Other research studies have indicated that women's alcohol use increased after the start of the pandemic, but this study highlights some concerning binge drinking patterns. The study showed that participants drank on an average of 9.2 days of the previous 28 days at the start of the stay-at-home orders in 2022, but drinking frequency dropped to 6.95 days in 2021 and stayed about the same in 2022. However, the average number of drinks per day rose from 1.47 in 2020 to 1.65 in 2021 and 1.61 in 2022.

The researchers were surprised to observe an increased number of drinks per day even as participants drank less frequently. The results were concerning, especially since rates of drinking among women were already increasing prior to the pandemic. According to study author Dr. Bridget Freisthler, “We had alcohol use already going up, and then we have this pandemic that added enforced confinement and social isolation to the already difficult job of parenting.” The study emphasizes the need for community health initiatives to promote awareness of risks associated with binge drinking and how they can impact effective parenting. 

Sources: Alcohol and Alcoholism, Eureka News Alert, Ohio State University 

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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