Skip to Content

Pandemic Has Cut Into College Kids' Drinking, Study Shows

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16, 2020 -- There's been a large drop in drinking among U.S. college students who went home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds.

It included more than 300 students who were surveyed about two months after pandemic-related campus closures in the spring.

The students were asked about their drinking habits and living arrangements before and after school shutdowns in the spring of 2020: living with peers before and after closure, living with parents before and after closure, or living with peers before closure but with parents after.

Among students who used alcohol, the number of days they drank per week fell from 3.1 to 2.7 for those who moved from living with peers to parents, but rose from 3 to 3.7 for those who remained living with peers, and from 2 to 3.3 for those who remained living with their parents.

The total number of drinks per week for students who moved home dropped from 13.9 to 8.5, remained about the same (10.6 vs. 11) among those who continued to live with peers, and rose from 6.7 to 9.4 for those who continued living at home.

The maximum number of drinks in a day decreased from 5.4 to 2.9 among students who moved home, from 4.4 to 3.7 for those who remained with peers, and from 3.5 to 3.2 for those who remained at home, according to the study. It was published Dec. 16 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Having more parental supervision may not be the only reason why students who moved home are drinking less, according to the researchers.

"Drinking is a social behavior for college students, and without social interaction students are less likely to drink heavily," said lead researcher Helene White, distinguished professor emeritus at Rutgers University's Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies in Piscataway, N.J.

"Living with parents may especially interfere with social interaction with peers and thereby be protective against heavy drinking," White said in a journal news release.

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: December 2020

Read this next

Anxiety, Depression and Drinking: An Unhealthy Combo During the Pandemic

MONDAY, Jan. 25, 2021 -- People with anxiety and depression are more likely to step up their drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic than those without these mental health issues,...

Even 1 Drink a Day May Raise Your Odds for A-Fib

  THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 -- Moderate drinking is often touted as heart-healthy, but a large new study finds that even one drink a day might raise the risk of an abnormal...

Pot Use Rises as Year Goes on: Study

THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 -- Here's a New Year's resolution that might be more common than you think: quitting pot. A new study suggests it might explain why marijuana use...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of in your inbox.