Research & Resources

Comparing Alcohol Use of Pre-COVID-Era and COVID-Era Cohorts of Mandated College Student Drinkers

This study examined alcohol use behaviors and perceived drinking norms among mandated student cohorts enrolled in the pre-COVID-19 era (fall 2019) and COVID-19 era (fall 2020). COVID-era cohort students reported fewer drinks, less pregaming (i.e., drinking before a social occasion such as a sports event), and fewer drinks while pregaming. The frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) remained consistent between groups. However, the peak number of drinks consumed during HED was significantly lower in the COVID-era group, as were Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores and the number of alcohol-related consequences. Perceived peer norms around frequency and quantity were significantly higher in the COVID-era group. Regression confirmed a significant impact of norms on both frequency and quantity of alcohol use in both cohorts. COVID restrictions were associated with reductions in overall quantity of drinks consumed, as well as in risky practices.

This paper, “Comparing alcohol use of pre-COVID-era and COVID-era cohorts of mandated college student drinkers,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs.

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