Trends in Young Adult Alcohol and Cannabis Use through the First Year and a Half of the COVID-19 Pandemic from a Community Cohort Sample


There has been concern regarding increased substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among young adults, but much of this concern stemmed from cross-sectional or short-term data collected early in the pandemic. This study followed a young adult community cohort throughout the first year and a half of the pandemic to examine longer-term trends/trajectories in alcohol and cannabis use behaviors.


Beginning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020), 656 young adults completed up to 8 surveys on substance use and other behaviors, which extended through August 2021. Multilevel spline growth models estimated changes in alcohol/cannabis use in three segments: (1) from pre-pandemic to April 2020, (2) from April 2020 to September/October 2020, and (3) from September/October 2020 to July/August 2021. Abstainers were removed from analyses, yielding subsamples for alcohol models (N=545; Mage=25.6; 59.8% female) and cannabis models (N=303; Mage=25.6; 61.4% female).


Drinking frequency initially increased (3% per month), decreased in the second segment (4% per month), and plateaued in the final segment. Drinking quantity significantly decreased in all three segments: 4% per month in segment one, 3% per month in segment two, and 1% per month in the final segment. Cannabis frequency and quantity showed no significant changes across the first two segments, then significantly decreased in the final segment (3% and 6% per month, respectively). The significant changes for cannabis frequency/quantity were moderated by age, such that older participants had steeper decreases in the final segment.


Findings highlight that young adult alcohol and cannabis use generally declined across the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to widespread concerns.


Drinking; Emerging Adults; Longitudinal; Marijuana; SARS-CoV-2; Spline Growth Modelling.

Read more here: Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *