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Exploring changes in temporary abstinence in increasing and higher risk drinkers in England and Dry January participation in users of the Try Dry app in the UK between 2020 and 2021.



Oldham, Melissa;

Kersbergen, Inge;

Cox, Sharon;

Brown, Jamie;

Piper, Richard;

Garnett, Claire;

(2022)

Exploring changes in temporary abstinence in increasing and higher risk drinkers in England and Dry January participation in users of the Try Dry app in the UK between 2020 and 2021.

BMC Public Health
, 22
(1)


, Article 1822. 10.1186/s12889-022-14188-4.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: We looked at changes in the prevalence of increasing and higher risk drinkers reporting a reduction attempt motivated by temporary abstinence and changes in prevalence of use of the official app accompanying Dry January between 2020 vs 2021, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also explored potential shifts in the sociodemographic composition of both groups. METHODS: We analysed data from: i) 1863 increasing and higher risk drinkers (defined as ≥ 8 on the AUDIT) responding to a nationally representative survey of adults in England in January and February 2020 and 2021, and ii) 104,598 users of the ‘Try Dry’ app, the official aid to those participating in Dry January 2020 and 2021 in the UK. We used logistic regression to examine shifts in the prevalence of increasing and higher risk drinkers reporting a reduction attempt motivated by temporary abstinence and explored whether there were shifts in the characteristics of this group in terms of AUDIT score, number of last year reduction attempts, smoking status, living alone, living with children, reducing alcohol consumption due to future health motives, age, sex, and occupational social grade between 2020 and 2021. We used t-tests and chi-squared tests to compare the prevalence of users of the ‘Try Dry’ app in 2020 and 2021 and examine whether the two groups differed in terms of age and sex. RESULTS: The proportion of increasing and higher risk drinkers reporting a reduction attempt motivated by temporary abstinence increased from 4% in 2020 to 8% in 2021 (OR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.38-3.11, p < .001) with no changes detected in sociodemographic composition. The number of Try Dry app users in 2021 increased by 34.8% relative to 2020. App users in 2021 were two years older on average [p < .001, d = .02], with a 2% increase in the proportion of female app users [p < .001, vs. < .01]. CONCLUSIONS: Higher participation in Dry January 2021 relative to 2020 indicates increased engagement with a period of temporary abstinence following the COVID-19 related lockdowns in England and the UK, which is positive in the wider context of increasing alcohol consumption throughout the pandemic.

Type: Article

Title: Exploring changes in temporary abstinence in increasing and higher risk drinkers in England and Dry January participation in users of the Try Dry app in the UK between 2020 and 2021.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-022-14188-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-14188-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Alcohol, Alcohol Reduction, Covid-19, Dry January, Temporary Abstinence, Adult, Alcohol Drinking, COVID-19, Child, Communicable Disease Control, England, Female, Humans, Mobile Applications, Pandemics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10156528
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