Nearly two months into Covid-19 induced isolation, some Australians are drinking more – and more often – than ever before.

It’s not healthy for anyone, including our kids, who may have witnessed their parents’ drinking change rapidly – partly out of boredom, but also as a way of coping with the stress of our new reality, a new poll has revealed.

Some children may have witnessed their parent’s occasional alcoholic beverage at the end of a long day of work turn into a daily ritual after a long day of homeschooling. Others have played in the background of Zoom calls which can act as virtual pub tables. Exposure to regular or excessive drinking can influence children’s attitudes and future behaviours around alcohol.

Our survey of parents across Australia suggests that one of the primary reasons for their increased alcohol consumption during coronavirus are heightened feelings of stress and anxiety It’s essential that children do not learn to view alcohol as a coping mechanism or to think drinking alcohol is a healthy lifestyle choice.

The good news is though, just as adults can form and pass on unhealthy behaviours and bad habits, they can just as easily do the opposite and quickly re-establish themselves as positive role models.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has developed the ‘You Haven’t Been Drinking Alone’ community health initiative to:

  1. Draw attention to the issue of increased drinking amongst parents of school-age children during lockdown
  2. Encourage parents to evaluate and adjust their own drinking behaviours as we start to emerge in to our ‘new normal’.

About the survey

All statistics referenced in the press release are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th-17th May 2020 with a total sample size of 1,007 parents of school-aged children. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

Survey findings

  • 29% of parents in Australia have increased their alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Almost 1 in 6 parents (14%) reports drinking alcohol on a daily basis during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • 38% of parents are citing heightened feelings of anxiety and stress as the number one reason for increased alcohol consumption during the lockdown.
  • 1 in 4 parents in Australia points to the stress of home-schooling as a reason for their increased alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • 1 in 5 Australian parents (20%) have been drinking every day or every other day in front of their children.
  • 35% of millennial parents are drinking more to cope with the COVID-19 lockdown and are significantly more likely to be doing this compared to Gen X parents (28%) and Baby Boomers (16%).
  • Parents in Australia with children aged 9-12 years have increased drinking the most during lockdown, with almost 1 in 10 saying they’re drinking a “lot more”.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) facts about alcohol use in Australia

  • Alcohol causes significant harm to individuals, families and communities, including alcohol-fueled violence, financial stress, family breakdown, accidents, injuries and many diseases including cancers.
  • Every year in Australia, approximately 150,000 people are hospitalised due to alcohol and 5,500 people die from alcohol-related injuries, accidents and illnesses.
  • Cutting back can reduce a person’s risk of injuries, accidents and developing chronic diseases like cancer.
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) draft guidelines recommend that to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any day.

About the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF)

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is one of Australia’s leading bodies committed to preventing and minimising alcohol and other drug harms in communities around the nation.

Now in its 60th year, the Foundation reaches millions of Australians in local communities through sporting clubs, workplaces, health care settings and schools, offering educational information, drug and alcohol prevention programs and advocating for strong and healthy communities.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and COVID-19

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation supports all Australians with quality information to help them prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms. For further information about alcohol use and ways to reduce related harms during COVID-19 (and beyond), please visit https://adf.org.au/covid-19/

Helpful resources

For free and confidential drug information or support, visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

 

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