Research & Resources

COVID and College: How the Pandemic Impacted Alcohol Use Disorder Status Among Students

In this study, researchers examined the impact of the pandemic on alcohol use disorder (AUD) in a sample of college students who were surveyed pre-pandemic and re-surveyed in May 2020. Pre-pandemic, researchers assessed items including DSM-5 AUD and mental health symptoms (i.e., PTSD, depression). Researchers reassessed alcohol consumption and mental health symptoms through a COVID-19 impact questionnaire administered in May 2020. The results showed that AUD symptoms decreased from pre-pandemic to May 2020, demonstrating a change in trajectory compared to prior cohorts. While students with persistent AUD reported higher rates of concurrent alcohol consumption and mental health symptoms than those with remitted AUD, they did not demonstrate an increase from pre-pandemic to May 2020. Persistent AUD status was predicted by higher sensation seeking and alcohol consumption. The researchers theorized that students with concurrent alcohol consumption and mental health symptoms could be at continued risk for persistent AUD.

This paper, “COVID and college: How the pandemic impacted alcohol use disorder status among students,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Food and Drug Administration and SAMHSA and published in the Journal of American college health.

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