The Age-Varying Association of Student Status with Excessive Alcohol Use: Ages 18 to 30 Years

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Abstract

Background: There is a well-known link between attending college and engaging in excessive alcohol use. This study examines in a national sample how the association between student status and excessive alcohol use changes from late adolescence through young adulthood and whether the association of student status with excessive alcohol use is different for students residing with versus away from parents during the school year. Methods: This study used cross-sectional data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized civilian adults residing in the United States. Our analyses included nonhigh school young adults who were ages 18 to 30 years (n = 8,645). Excessive alcohol use included past-year (i) high-intensity drinking (men: ≥10 standard drinks; women: ≥8) and (ii) exceeding weekly drinking guidelines (men: >14 drinks per week; women: >7). Students who resided away from their parents and students who lived with their parents during the school year were compared to nonstudents. Results: Analyses using time-varying effect modeling showed that the relationship of student status with excessive alcohol use varied as a function of age. Overall student status lost its association with excessive alcohol use in the early 20s, after controlling for demographics and other adult social roles. The association between student status and excessive alcohol use also varied considerably across age and depending on whether the student was residing with or away from parents. Conclusions: The association of student status with excessive alcohol use is heterogeneous in terms of both age and living arrangements, suggesting opportunities for interventions targeting problematic alcohol use. Future research should examine additional sources of heterogeneity of students in their risk for excessive alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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