What happens when the party moves home? The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. college student alcohol consumption as a function of legal drinking status using longitudinal data

Nicole C. Ryerson, Oliver W.A. Wilson, Alejandra Pena, Michele Duffy, Melissa Bopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many young adults in the United States (U.S.) moved from college accommodations to live with their parents/family during the Spring 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While alcohol consumption fluctuates during a typical semester among students, the impact of the sudden changes stemming from the pandemic on students' alcohol consumption patterns is unclear. To examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college student alcohol consumption while accounting for legal drinking age and living situation. Data were collected from students (n = 302) at a large, northeastern U.S. university at the beginning and end of the of the 2019 and 2020 Spring semesters via an online survey that assessed socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, living situation) and alcohol consumption using the daily drinking questionnaire. Data were analyzed using a 2 (cohort group: COVID-19 vs. normal) × 2 (age group: above 21 vs. under 21) × 2 (time: beginning vs. end of the semester) mixed model ANOVA. There was a significant three-way interaction. Students over the legal drinking age impacted by the pandemic demonstrated a drastic decrease in alcohol consumption by the end of the semester compared to those under normal circumstances. Change in living situation as a result of the pandemic drastically impacted the alcohol consumption patterns of students over the legal drinking age. Suggestions for future research on the continuing effects of the pandemic on students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-774
Number of pages3
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 7 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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