With kids learning at home, parents drink more

SophieL

Parents are increasing alcohol intake to cope with the stress of their children learning at home.

The Conversation found that parents who are stressed by helping their children with distance learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic drink seven more drinks per month than parents who do not report feeling stressed by distance learning.

  • The stressed parents are twice as likely to report binge drinking at least once in the past month than other parents. Binge drinking for women consists of drinking at least four alcoholic beverages within a few hours, or at least five for men.
  • The online survey from May 2020 showed that 66 percent of parents with children who did distance learning in the Spring of 2020 reported stress because of uncertainty in trying to help.
  • Most respondents were middle-income or higher.

The COVID-19 pandemic reflects a concerning trend in alcohol consumption.

  • Each year, alcohol kills more people than motor vehicle crashes, guns, or illegal drugs.
  • Increased drinking links to public health concerns, including violence, crime, poverty, and STDs.
  • Alcohol weakens the human immune system, thus increasing the likelihood of getting COVID-19 and having worse outcomes.
  • COVID-19 raises stress, and research shows that people increase alcohol consumption after stressful events and catastrophes. 
  • Parents are found to drink more than people without children in the pandemic.
  • One study suggests that parents are stressed because the schools provide insufficient guidance, especially for low-income families. 

More research is needed about what makes distance learning stressful for parents. 

Read the full report.

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