‘I’ve gone from one extreme to the other’: critical junctures in relationships with alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nicholls, Emily and Conroy, Dominic (2023) ‘I’ve gone from one extreme to the other’: critical junctures in relationships with alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 30 (6). pp. 613-622. ISSN 0968-7637

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2023.2177524

Abstract / Description

Background: With the United Kingdom experiencing a series of ‘lockdowns’ in 2020 and 2021 that disrupted leisure and socializing, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a 'critical juncture’ which has facilitated alterations to – and reflections on – drinking practices. Methods: Drawing on online semi-structured interviews and focus groups conducted between the first and second UK lockdowns, we highlight three stages in the development and maintenance of UK drinking practices using critical junctures as a theoretical framework. Discussion: Firstly, we consider the antecedent conditions – such as dominant drinking cultures - that shape pre-pandemic drinking practices and form the backdrop against which changes to behaviors are made. Secondly, we explore the 'cleavage' or initial moment of disruption which gives rise to shifts in drinking practices and consider how this critical juncture stabilizes and is reproduced. Finally, we examine the possible ‘legacy’ of the critical juncture. Conclusions: The paper highlights implications for healthcare/policy including the importance of considering wider social context when seeking behavioral change. We also stress that alternative explanations - such as declining drinking rates and the growth of Temporary Abstinence Initiatives – must not be ignored when exploring people’s shifting drinking behaviors, even during periods of unprecedented social change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol; drinking practices; COVID-19; critical junctures; drinking behavior
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Dom Conroy
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2023 09:36
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2023 16:10
URI: https://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/8278

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