Changes in alcohol consumption among medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic – results from POLLEK study
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Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland (Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine in Katowice)
Online publication date: 2023-08-28
Corresponding author
Maksymilian Gajda   

Medical University of Silesia, Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine in Katowice, Medyków 18, 40-055 Katowice, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):406-16
Objectives: Social distancing and remote learning as one of the ways to fight against COVID-19 pandemic have affected universities and changed the lifestyle of many students. Psychoactive substances use was one of the way to deal with the anxiety caused by these new settings. Studies published so far have not provided a clear answer on whether COVID-19 leads to changes in the structure of alcohol consumption among medical students. The presented study attempted to answer this question based on the data available from the POLLEK study. Material and Methods: The study group included 3 separate groups of medical students (recruited in the following academic years: 2019/2020, 2020/2021, and 2021/2022) with a total number of 899 students. To assess the characteristics of alcohol consumption the authors used a Polish version of the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). Results: Students surveyed during the lockdown lived in the family home much more often, reported good health, and declared consumption of a smaller number of alcoholic beverages. Their AUDIT scores were statistically significantly (p = 0.04) lower compared to the group surveyed before the pandemic (5 vs. 6, respectively). There were no significant differences in the AUDIT results between other study periods. Conclusions: Lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic might be associated with a decrease in alcohol intake among medical students. This may be due to a different place of residence of students, a family home rather than a dormitory. However, the debate on this topic seems to be still open. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):406–16
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