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The lockdown booze: How is Coronavirus affecting the UK’s drinking habits?

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Fiona Walker

A new research project at the University of Sussex is exploring how the Coronavirus lockdown is affecting people's attitudes towards drinking and their alcohol intake.

Fiona Walker, a doctoral researcher at the university’s School of Psychology, is looking for volunteers to participate in the study, which will also investigate the relationships between heightened stress, alcohol and health concerns.

Recently published research from Alcohol Change UK suggests that one in five people say they are drinking more during the pandemic, while alcohol sales jumped up 22 per cent in March, with sales of alcohol outpacing the purchases of groceries.

Fiona said: “Since the government introduced national social distancing measures and closed bars, pubs and restaurants, the consumption of alcohol has shifted solely to be within the home environment.

“I am interested in understanding how people's drinking patterns and attitudes towards alcohol may have changed in this time, when there are particular prominent public health messages circulating and when the levels of stress and pressure on individuals may have changed.

“I hope that this will improve the understanding of people's thoughts and attitudes towards alcohol consumption during times of change or periods of stress.

“A recent survey has found that one in five people are drinking more frequently, and we know that alcohol sales have risen. But it's also reported that one in three people are trying to limit or stop drinking. I am hoping this study will help to provide a more nuanced picture of the nation's lockdown drinking habits.”

Volunteers will be asked to fill out a short 20-minute online survey on their alcohol consumption, current concerns about health, current stress levels and thoughts about alcohol and health.

Participants must be 18 years old or above, typically resident in the UK and consumers of alcoholic drinks.

They will be asked to fill in the questionnaire at any stage while any level of social distancing measures are in place in the UK, and all participants will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two £50 Amazon vouchers.

Analysis of the data will begin in September.

For more information and to take part in the survey, visit

By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 15 May 2020