Research & Resources

Meaning in Life and Stress-Related Drinking in College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Researchers investigated the possibility that finding meaning and purpose in life may lessen the strength of the association between stress and alcohol consumption. A multicohort sample of college students was recruited between November 2019 and September 2021. Consistent with expectations, higher stress was only associated with more past-month alcohol use among individuals who reported low levels of meaning in life. Results held when investigating both general perceived stress and COVID-19-specific stress and did not vary by cohort. Findings indicate that finding meaning and purpose in life may help college students to navigate heightened periods of stress with more adaptive coping strategies that do not result in drinking to cope.

This paper, “Meaning in life and stress-related drinking: A multicohort study of college students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

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