UW Researchers found changes in adult drinking habits during pandemic

NOW: UW Researchers found changes in adult drinking habits during pandemic

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Drinking habits changed for many Wisconsinites during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's the finding of a new survey from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The survey found that young adults in high earning jobs had the biggest increase in alcohol use during the pandemic. Overall, adults between ages 21 and 40 in the highest income groups and education levels drank more. These were mostly professionals that reported working remotely during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted in three waves. One focused on May to June of 2020, another was January, February and June of 2021.

Each survey had up to 1,900 respondents.

While there was a spike in drinking in Wisconsin during the survey periods, the trends slightly declined in the later surveys.

“It is difficult to know exactly why, but many things changed during the pandemic. Many individuals were dealing with multiple stressors of work, caring for children and families and the added anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amy Schultz, scientist with the Department of Population Health Sciences and the associate director and co-principal investigator of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW).

Schultz says the shift to remote work and social distancing often meant fewer social outlets for many.

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