Previous Australian research has shown that parents of dependent children are one of the only groups that increased drinking alcohol during lockdowns. New research from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University released today sought to understand why this occurred.
Lead researcher Megan Cook spoke to 30 parents and carers from across Australia about their experiences. “We know that parents and carers faced unique challenges during the lockdowns, with the stress of working from home and caring for children and young people commonly reported.”
“Many told us alcohol was a means of desensitising themselves to some of the pressures and stressors of the day, especially when they didn’t have the normal stress relieving outlets to turn to, such as lunch with a friend; or time alone.”
“Alcohol was described as being used in the absence of usual markers signifying the end of the day, such as the commute from work to home.”
“The parents described drinking as a moment of personal self-care, or as a shared adult moment that was particularly important to them, especially when their energy was expended on managing other family members experiences,” she said.
New encounters brought about by the pandemic, such as the home shifting from a domestic setting to one that was suddenly required to accommodate work and school obligations, and the increase of people in the same space, was described by parents as behind the changes in their alcohol consumption.
It was also found that many parents increased the frequency of their consumption rather than the quantity. However, Megan Cook explained that, “some parents also used the lockdown as an opportunity to reduce their consumption”.
“We also found that parents were thoughtful and considered about drinking in front of children,” she said.
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