Two-thirds of men drinking to cope during pandemic

Two-thirds of men are drinking to cope during the Covid-19 pandemic, new research has found.
Two-thirds of men drinking to cope during pandemic

File image.
File image.

Two-thirds of men are drinking to cope during the Covid-19 pandemic, new research has found.

A Drinkaware study has found there are also more men drinking on a weekly basis than women.

According to the research, 66% of men reported drinking to cope in 2020 compared to 56% in 2018.

The Drinkaware/Behaviour & Attitudes study focused on the behaviours, attitudes and motivations driving male alcohol consumption since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions.

They say the findings “show a disproportionate increase in frequency and volume consumed among men in Ireland when compared with women and the overall population.”

The study also found that:

  • 57% of men in Ireland are drinking on a weekly basis, vs 48% of women and 52% of the overall drinking population
  • Men are more than twice as likely to report binge drinking 4 or more times in those 30 days (21%), compared to 10% of women and 15% national average
  • Men are far more likely to report drinking to cope (66%) than women (55%) and 60% national average
  • 40% of men report drinking at home alone, compared to 32% of women and 36% national average
  • 27% of men agree that they would like to drink less, compared to 22% of women and 24% national average
  • 35% of Irish male drinkers have made small positive changes to their drinking habits during lockdown, compared to 27% of female drinkers and 31% national average.

“The data tells the story of stark gender divide regarding alcohol consumption in Ireland,” said Drinkaware CEO Sheena Horgan.

“Irish men are clearly using alcohol as a way to cope with the anxiety, loneliness and boredom of Covid-19.?

“Men already fared worse in terms of frequency and volume of drinking. Now they are exhibiting consistently hazardous and potentially harmful drinking habits.”

Ms Horgan said that hazardous drinking, or binge drinking, increases the risk of people experiencing health problems in the future.

She added: “We know from previous pre-Covid research (Drinkaware Index 2019) that 29% of men felt they were likely to have future problems as a result of their drinking levels, and this figure is bound now to rise if current drinking levels are not redressed.

“Men are, however, willing to change. They’re more likely than women to report that they want to drink less and more than one-third have already taken steps to do this during lockdown.?

“A consistent one-third of visits to are men so even with the unsettling picture of the data overall, there are encouraging signs, and clearly an appetite for supports to change drinking habits."

The study was conducted online in April 2020 with 1,015 adults taking part.

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