A study co-funded by Australian Rotary Health aimed to understand the attitudes towards alcohol consumption in young Australians by examining the relationship between their drinking habits and how they perceive their own drinking habits.
ARH Mental Health Grant recipient, Associate Professor Tim Slade from the University of Sydney, was a part of the team that conducted the study between 2018 and 2021. During the longitudinal study, the COVID-19 pandemic had introduced an unexpected unique factor of alcohol consumption in these young adults.
Though, most studies which have measured pandemic-related changes of alcohol consumptions, none have utilised a self-identifying measurement to compare alongside actual drinking measurements. In other words, this study relied on the participant’s own perception of own drinking habits to compare with their actual drinking habits.
With a total of 856 participants, the study found that self-attribution measures of pandemic-related increases in alcohol consumption were found to largely underestimate the actual increase in alcohol consumption. Most participants who experienced an increase in alcohol consumption throughout the study failed to correctly self-attribute that increase. These findings suggest that a young individual’s perception of their drinking habits do not correspond well with their actual drinking habits.
It is important to note that though this study may have found that most young Australians do not correspond their perception of drinking habits correctly, does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic did not introduce factors that could have jeopardised the method of measurement. This is especially when identifying groups at risk of alcohol use increases and appropriate direction of public health efforts.
You can read the full study here.
Media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org First published 23rd March 2023