Patterns of Alcohol Use Among Italian Young Adults Before and During a COVID-19 Lockdown: A Latent Class Analysis Study

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Abstract

Two not mutually exclusive theories explain the efects of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol use. The Availability hypothesis contends that reduced opportunities to drink due to the closure of outlets and consumption sites should lead to decreases in alcohol use, whereas the Stress and Coping hypothesis argues that those exposed to stressful situations may increase drinking. The primary aim of this study was to examine changes—separately by gender—in the prevalence of drinking patterns among Italian young adults (18–34 years) before and during a COVID-19 lockdown. Study design was a repeated cross-sectional study, whereby data collected in 2015 and 2020 from nationally representative samples were analyzed. Latent class analysis identifed fve, fully invariant for women and partially invariant for men, drinking pattern classes among both cohorts: current non-drinkers (CND), weekend risky (WRD) and weekend non-risky drinkers (WnRD), daily non-risky (DnRD) and daily risky drinkers (DRD). In support of the Availability hypothesis, increases in abstaining and moderate drinking women and men were observed from 2015 to 2020. Concomitantly, among men only there were also increases in the prevalence of patterns characterized by risky drinking, coping drinking motives and related harm (Stress and Coping hypothesis). The pandemic and the three-tier lockdown imposed by the Italian government likely reduced overall alcohol use in the general population who drink moderately. However, there was a substantial increase in the prevalence of a small but signifcant group of men who drank daily and heavily to cope. Outreach and prevention eforts should target primarily this group, but also consider the opportunities that the exceptional circumstances of a quarantine offer to any individuals to reshape their lifestyle and health-related behaviors.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-18
Numero di pagine18
RivistaTHE JOURNAL OF PRIMARY PREVENTION
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • COVID-19
  • Drinking patterns
  • Italy
  • Lockdown
  • Person-centered approach
  • Young people

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