Research & Resources

Perceptions of Reduced Peer Drinking During COVID-19 Influences College Student Behavior

Researchers examined the extent to which changes in college student alcohol use behaviors were associated with perceived changes in peer drinking norms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers also examined changes in alcohol use by students who reported living with their parents during the pandemic, and whether changes differed by Greek status. On average, students reported drinking less alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic and reported perceptions that peers also were engaging in less alcohol use. Perceptions of peers’ changes in alcohol use behavior were strongly associated with self-reported changes in students’ own alcohol use. Students living at home during the pandemic reported significantly lower weekly alcohol use relative to those living in fraternity/sorority housing but not significantly lower than those in on-campus housing. These findings highlight the importance of normative perceptions for drinking behavior in college students, even while students are physically distanced from campus and peers.
This paper, Changes in College Student Alcohol Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Are Perceived Drinking Norms Still Relevant? was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It was published in the journal Emerging Adulthood.
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