Summary: Women in their twenties who frequently had binge drinking had the highest self-reported prevalence of COVID-19 infection among subgroups in a study of alcohol and drug use during the pandemic. The researchers say the increased risk of infection was due to heavy drinkers being less vigilant with their social behaviors due to intoxication.
Source: Rutgers University
Women in their twenties who reported frequent binge drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to be infected with COVID-19, according to Rutgers researchers who said doctors needed to develop pandemic-related prevention methods to address substance use issues.
The study, published in Drug and alcohol addictionfound that young black and white women aged 25 to 28 who reported consuming alcohol – four or more drinks in a single sitting – had the highest self-reported prevalence of COVID-19 infection among subgroups studied.
“Our research shows that when young women consume alcohol, they also increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. This may be due to several factors associated with excessive alcohol consumption, such as being less vigilant in using preventative behaviors such as social distancing when intoxicated,” said Tammy Chung, Professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Population Behavioral Health at the Rutgers Institute. for health, health care policy and aging research and a corresponding author in the study.
Researchers analyzed whether people’s alcohol and substance use changed from before the COVID-19 pandemic to during the pandemic in a sample of young black and white women. They examined how characteristics such as socioeconomic status and COVID-19 infection status were associated with certain patterns of substance and alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study focused on young women, an understudied group whose rates of substance use catch up or match those of men for most substances, as young women experience disproportionate financial hardship due to job loss and increased care responsibilities.
“Identifying these characteristic profiles can inform a tailored intervention to address disparities associated with risk of COVID-19 infection and its intersection with specific patterns of substance use among young women to guide a public health response. more personalized,” Chung said.
The study looked at seven subgroups of young women who had similar patterns of substance use before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups included those with low substance use, cannabis use, heavy drinking, cigarette or e-cigarette smokers combined with heavy alcohol consumption and other habits.
The researchers also looked at characteristics associated with these substance use patterns, such as socioeconomic status, COVID-19 infection status, and the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and financial status.
Each subgroup correlated with a different response to the impacts of COVID-19. By using subgroup profiles, researchers could better understand how personal characteristics are associated with substance abuse patterns. The researchers also found that people who reported using more than one drug were more likely to report pandemic-related psychological health and job or income loss.
“Women who report multiple substance use warrant intervention not only for substance use, but would also benefit from mental health services and assistance with job or income loss,” Chung said.
Future research could analyze subgroups of men, women who do not identify as black or white, and other age groups.
Study co-authors include Carolyn Sartor, Ashley Grosso, and Yanping Jiang of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research; and Alison Hipwell of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
About This Heavy Drinking and COVID-19 Research News
Author: Andre Smith
Source: Rutgers University
Contact: Andrew Smith – Rutgers University
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Original research: Access closed.
“Person-centered patterns of substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic and their associations with COVID-related impacts on the health and personal finances of young black and white women” by Tammy Chung et al. Drug and alcohol addiction
Person-centered patterns of substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic and their associations with COVID-related impacts on the health and personal finances of young black and white women
Population-level statistics on pandemic-related changes in substance use may mask patterns of use (eg, polydrug use) among individuals. This longitudinal study used a person-centered approach to identify subgroups with respect to substance use patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to examine profile correlates (e.g., characteristics socio-demographic), which can inform a personalized intervention.
The two youngest age cohorts of the Pittsburgh Girls Study (n=938; 59.1% black, 40.9% white; mean age=26.2 (SD=0.8)), a sample longitudinal community, provided data on frequency of cigarette/e-cigarette use, binge drinking (>4 drinks per occasion) and cannabis use before and during the pandemic, and perceived change in use. Latent profile analysis identified subgroups. Profile correlates were examined (eg, sociodemographics, COVID-19 infection status and reported exposure, impacts of COVID-19 on psychological health and finances).
Seven profiles have been identified: “Low consumption”, “Occasional binge drinking”, “Cannabis consumption”, “Cigarette/e-cigarette and excessive alcohol consumption”, “Occasional binge drinking and cannabis”, “Binge drinking and cannabis and “Polysubstance use”. Black women were overrepresented in the “Low use” category, which was associated with fewer pandemic health effects. Profiles associated with more frequent heavy drinking were more likely to report COVID-19 infection, while ‘cannabis use’ had a lower reported prevalence of infection ‘Poly use’ had more COVID-related depression and loss of income, on average, than ‘low use’ “.
Distinct subgroups representing single-substance use, co-use, and multiple-substance use before and during the pandemic were identified. The profiles show a differential response to the impacts of COVID-19, ranging from relative resistance to specific needs to guide personalized treatment.