The impact of early COVID-19 restrictions on alcohol consumption, intimate partner violence, and finances in rural Sri Lanka

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  • Jennifer Schulz
  • Chiara Cimenti
  • Chamil Priyadhasana
  • Malith Herath
  • Kamal Senerviratne
  • Sisira Siribaddana
  • P.H.G.J. Pushpakumara
  • Andrew Dawson
  • Kylie Lee
  • Konradsen, Flemming
  • Thilini Rajapakse
  • Jacques Raubenheimer
  • Sørensen, Jane Brandt
  • Melissa Pearson
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures had a significant impact worldwide on alcohol
consumption, the prevalence of intimate partner violence, and financial situations. In January 2020, the first
COVID-19 case was reported from Sri Lanka. Government responses included quarantine, the ban on alcohol
sales, and the provision of 5,000 rupees to eligible individuals. The aim was to explore the impact of governmentenforced responses to COVID-19 on alcohol consumption, financial situations, and intimate partner violence in
the Anuradhapura district of Sri Lanka.
This study utilised a qualitative design in 21 villages in the Anuradhapura district. It involved semi-structured
interviews with 289 household members and 113 key informants in the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The generated results were compared with available national data.
Restrictions on alcohol sales reduced overall drinking but increased consumption of illicit alcohol. Few families
reported episodes of household conflict, usually between husband and wife, and just a few key informants spoke
of domestic violence. The 5,000-rupee government payment appeared to provide some protection against
financial impact.
This study found, in line with national findings, that general alcohol consumption did not increase, but illicit
alcohol consumption did. In contrast to expectations and national results, interpersonal violence did not increase,
and the government's economic support was protective. Further research is needed to understand the
consequences of the lockdowns beyond the initial restrictions.
TidsskriftAnuradhapura Medical Journal
Sider (fra-til)23-30
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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