Research & Resources

Sibling Influences on Adolescent Alcohol Use During the Spring 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Shutdown

Researchers in this study examined the bidirectional associations between adolescent siblings’ alcohol use before and during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 and whether youth’s stress about missed social connections (i.e., social disruption stress) moderated these associations. Researchers studied 682 families, for a total of 2,046 participants, composed of 2 adolescent siblings and 1 parent, from 5 Midwestern states. Older siblings’ pre-pandemic drinking predicted a greater likelihood of younger siblings’ drinking during the spring of 2020 pandemic shutdown. This association was not moderated by younger siblings’ social disruption stress. The association between younger siblings’ pre-pandemic drinking and older siblings’ drinking during the shutdown was moderated by older siblings’ social disruption stress. Researchers suggested implementing interventions during times of stress and isolation, when youth’s social interactions with peers may be limited.

This paper, “Sibling influences on adolescent alcohol use during the spring 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shutdown,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Psychology of addictive behaviors.

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