Summary: Women in their 20s had the highest self-reported prevalence of COVID-19 infection among subgroups in a study on alcohol and drug use during the pandemic. Researchers believe that the risk of infection increases because heavy drinkers are less careful about their social behavior due to intoxication.

Source: Rutgers University

Women in their mid-20s who reported drinking regularly during the Covid-19 pandemic were more likely to develop Covid-19, Rutgers researchers said, adding that physicians should develop epidemic prevention strategies to address substance use problems.

The study, published in Drug and alcohol addictionThey found that among young black and white women ages 25 to 28, binge drinking — four or more drinks in one sitting — was associated with self-reported COVID-19 infection in the subgroups studied.

Our research shows that young women are at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 when they drink too much. “This may be due to a number of factors related to binge drinking, such as not being vigilant enough to use protective behaviors such as social withdrawal when intoxicated,” said Tammy Chung, professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Population Behavioral Health at Rutgers Institute. For Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and corresponding author in the study.

Researchers analyzed changes in alcohol and substance use in a sample of black and white young women from before the COVID-19 pandemic to during the pandemic. They examined how characteristics such as socioeconomic status and covid-19 infection status were associated with certain substance and alcohol use patterns during the covid-19 pandemic.

The study focused on young women, whose rates of drug use match or are similar to those of men for most substances, as young women face disproportionate financial burdens due to job loss and increased caregiving responsibilities.

“Identifying these behavioral patterns can inform tailored interventions to address differences in risk of covid-19 infections and the relationship to specific substance use patterns among young women,” Chung said.

The study looked at seven subgroups of young women who showed similar drug use before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. The groups included low substance use, cannabis use, heavy drinking, heavy cigarette or e-cigarette use, and other patterns.

Researchers examined the characteristics associated with these drug use patterns, such as socioeconomic status, covid-19 infection status, and the effects of covid-19 on mental health and financial conditions.

This shows a woman drinking a cocktail
Women in their mid-20s who reported drinking regularly during the Covid-19 pandemic were more likely to be infected with Covid-19. Image is in public domain.

Each subgroup corresponds to a different response to the effects of Covid-19. Using subgroup profiles, researchers can better understand how personal characteristics are associated with substance abuse. Researchers have found that individuals who report using more than one drug are more likely to report an epidemic-related psychological health and job or income loss.

“Women who report more substance use are more likely to benefit not only from substance abuse but also from mental health services and support for job or income loss,” he said.

Future research could examine subgroups of men, women black or white, and other age groups.

Study co-authors Carolyn Sarter, Ashley Grosso and Yanping Jiang of the Rutgers Institute of Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research; and Alison Hipwell of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

So the research news on excessive drinking and covid-19

Author: Andrew Smith
Source: Rutgers University
Contact: Andrew Smith – Rutgers University
Image: The image is in the public domain.

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Preliminary study: Closed access.
Person-centred patterns of substance use during the Covid-19 pandemic and their relationship to covid-related effects on health and personal finances in young black and white women.” by Tammy Chung et al Drug and alcohol addiction


Person-centred patterns of substance use during the Covid-19 pandemic and their relationship to covid-related effects on health and personal finances in young black and white women.


Population-level statistics on epidemic-related changes in drug use may obscure patterns of use (eg, polysubstance use) within individuals. This longitudinal study used a person-centered approach to identify subgroups of substance use patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and profile correlates (e.g., socio-demographic characteristics) may inform tailored interventions.


The Pittsburgh Girls Study, the two youngest age groups (n = 938; 59.1 % black, 40.9 % white; mean age= 26.2 (SD= 0.8)), a longitudinal community sample, provided past-year smoking/e-frequency data. smoking, Excessive drinking (> 4 drinks per occasion), and Cannabis use Before and during the outbreak, and changes in usage were noted. Latent profile analysis identified subgroups. Profile correlates were examined (e.g., sociodemographics, self-reported covid-19 infection status and vulnerability, impact of covid-19 on psychological health and finances).


Seven profiles were identified: “minimal use”, “occasional heavy use”, “cannabis use”, “cigarettes/e-cigarettes and heavy use”, “occasional heavy use and cannabis”, “heavy use and “Cannabis” and “Polysubstance Use” Black women were overrepresented in the “Low Use” subscale, which was associated with fewer epidemic effects on health. Profiles associated with frequent heavy drinking were more likely to report covid-19 infection, while “Cannabis Use” was associated with a lower prevalence of infection. “Policy use” had, on average, more Covid-related depression and income loss than “low use”.


Specific subgroups representing single substance use, co-use, and polysubstance use were identified before and during the epidemic. The profiles show different responses to the effects of Covid-19, from relative strength to specific needs to guide individualized treatment.

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