A new study of college student drinking patterns published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that on average college students drank less -- not more – after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and the University of Washington at Seattle found that a change in student residence was linked to a reduction in drinking. Students who moved residences in spring 2020 due to the pandemic reduced their drinking by 49 percent, compared to a 21 percent reduction among students who did not move.
“Though data were not available on location of students’ residences, 80 percent of students who had been living on‐campus at the current university moved elsewhere and were encouraged to return to their permanent residence,” the study states. “Thus, findings appear to highlight the role of the college campus environment in perpetuating risk for heavy drinking and suggest moving off‐campus or having greater parental monitoring may reduce heavy drinking in college students.”
The study is based on a survey data from 1,365 college students aged 19 or over. Anna Jaffe, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is the lead author of the article, which compares alcohol use across the spring 2018, 2019 and 2020 semesters.