Research background

YouGov Poll Data (May 14-17, 2020)

drinking in isolation campaign image

About the survey

Two months into COVID-19 induced isolation, the ADF commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct a national poll to explore how Australia’s parents were coping with the pandemic.

From May 14-17, 2020, a total sample of 1,007 parents of school-aged children participated in the online survey. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+). All statistics referenced below are from YouGov Plc.

Polling Snapshot

  • 29% of parents in Australia have increased their alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Almost 1 in 6 parents (14%) reports drinking alcohol on a daily basis during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • 38% of parents are citing heightened feelings of anxiety and stress as the number one reason for increased alcohol consumption during the lockdown.
  • 1 in 4 (25%) parents in Australia points to the stress of home-schooling as a reason for their increased alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • 1 in 5 Australian parents (20%) have been drinking every day or every other day in front of their children.
  • 35% of millennial parents are drinking more to cope with the COVID-19 lockdown and are significantly more likely to be doing this compared to Gen X parents (28%) and Baby Boomers (16%).
  • Parents in Australia with children aged 9-12 years have increased drinking the most during lockdown, with almost 1 in 10 saying they are drinking a “lot more”.
  • Parents working part-time have been the most likely to drink daily during lockdown (18%).
  • Parents working full-time have had the biggest increase in their alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown, with 1 in 3 consuming more alcohol (versus 31% working part-time and 19% not working).
  • 1 in 5 parents who’ve increased their alcohol consumption during isolation cited extra video socialising with friends as a key factor for boosting their alcohol intake. Of those, parents aged 18-34 were far more likely to say video socialising was a key factor for their increased alcohol consumption, rising to nearly one in three (31%).


The poll data shows that some Australian parents have increased their alcohol consumption since the outbreak of COVID-19. It’s not healthy for anyone, including our kids, who may have witnessed their parents’ drinking behaviours change recently – partly out of boredom, but also as a way of coping with the stress of coping with COVID-19.

Exposure to regular or excessive drinking can influence children’s attitudes and future behaviours around alcohol.

The good news though, is that just as adults can form and pass on unhealthy behaviours and bad habits, they can also just as easily do the opposite and quickly re-establish themselves as positive role models.

Support resources

To highlight the issue of increased drinking amongst parents of school-age children during lockdown and support parents to evaluate and adjust their own drinking behaviours as Australia begins to emerge from isolation, the ADF has launched the ‘You Haven’t Been Drinking Alone’ community education initiative.

The campaign encourages parents to consider how their drinking may be influencing their children’s future attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol.