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Parents are more likely to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism if they have at least one minor child living with them, according to a new study.
The findings of this study were just published a week ago. It was conducted by scientists at York University. Researchers studied 320 Canadians who self-identified as people who drink alcohol over a 30 day lapse of time.
"While the pandemic has been challenging for everyone, our data suggest that parents’ well-being was especially impacted," said Matthew Keough, an assistant professor involved with the research, in the press release.
One possible explanation for the increased likelihood of parents drinking excessively during the pandemic is the additional stress placed on them as such, since they are responsible for their children.
"Parents have been coping with many stressors and responsibilities during COVID-19, which potentially include working from home, homeschooling young children, and managing their own negative emotions. Our data suggests that drinking alcohol may have been a main coping strategy among stressed out parents," Keough went on to say.
The study also found that increased alcohol consumption was present among people who live alone and people who experienced loss or reduction of income, but that there wasn't a clear correlation between this and the use of alcohol as a coping strategy. The study's researchers consider that more research is necessary.
They did find that using alcohol to cope was indeed related to increased use of alcohol in general, along with increased risk for the negative physical and mental effects of alcohol use. They would, however, like to continue the study in order to study long-term effects and outcomes.
Jeffrey Wardell, one of the authors of the study, said, "Using alcohol to cope with distress is a clearly established risk factor for alcohol use disorder. This is concerning because these alcohol problems could worsen over time, suggesting it may be important to help these individuals find more positive coping strategies rather than using alcohol to cope."