A researcher is urging Kiwis, especially mums, not to stock up on alcohol as the threat of an Omicron outbreak grows.
A new study from the University of Auckland found stressed-out women under 50 who were working from home and living with children were the most likely to increase alcohol consumption in lockdown.
It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday that if there was a community Omicron outbreak, the entire country would move to red in the traffic light setting.
"Our study found those who consumed more alcohol during lockdown were likely to continue post lockdown," lead author Dr Zaheer Hla said.
Dr Hla analysed the results from surveys completed by 37,206 adults across 38 countries, including New Zealand, Australia and the US, between 17 April and 25 June 2020 for the study, which has just been published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.
He looked at reports of alcohol purchases and use as well as other outcomes.
The study showed some people's drinking increased by 20.2 percent, some decreased by 17.6 percent and the remainder stayed at the same level.
The biggest self-reported drinkers were those who had stocked up on alcohol ahead of the lockdown.
The study also found that females under the age of 50 that have higher educational attainment, living with children, working from home and psychological distress were all independently associated with increased alcohol use in lockdown.
Dr Hla has advised Kiwis not to stock up on alcohol as it could affect their mental health.
"If you stock up, you feel like drinking more and if you have nothing to do, you will keep drinking," Dr Hla said.
"Rather than stocking up, it's important to be aware of your mental wellbeing and choose more positive coping mechanisms, like exercise, a creative hobby or seeking out family and professional support.
"And it's important to be aware of what help is available, such as helplines and mental health support, whether it's on the phone or online."