Belgium’s lockdown has seen around 25% of French-speaking Belgians increase their alcohol consumption, a new study by university UCLouvain has found.
On the whole, however, there is no general increase in alcohol consumption during the lockdown. 46% of respondents reported a stable level of alcohol consumption and 29% reported they were drinking less than before the lockdown, the university communicated in a press release.
People's change in drinking habits is influenced by demographic factors. There is a more significant drop in alcohol consumption among men (33%) than among women (23%), and among people between 20 and 40 years old (42%). Students' alcohol consumption is down by 61%. There was even a 70% reduction among male students.
People are drinking less due to the absence of social contacts, according to the researchers, as those who usually drink with friends are now drinking less.
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Increased drinking seems to be linked to a person's level of education, with more people who have gone through higher education reporting an increase (28%) than those with a high school degree (22%). Researchers also noted increased consumption among people working from home (37%) and those not working during the lockdown (38%).
The researchers state that negative emotions related to the crisis, stress related to income, work, family and powerlessness in the face of the crisis, and anxiety are contributing factors for those who drink more.
Whether someone is in the city or in the countryside does not influence alcohol consumption, nor do social isolation and boredom.
The survey also addressed the use of other substances, noticing a decline in the use of cigarettes (42%), cannabis (52%) and cocaine (75%).
The study will continue until the lockdown is over and can be accessed here.
The Brussels Times