University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey shows college alcohol consumption rates plummeted during the pandemic.
The study was published in an academic journal in March and showed that the influx of college students returning home contributed to a substantial drop in college alcohol consumption.
“This speaks to the role of the social environment in student drinking,” said lead researcher Anna Jaffe, assistant professor of psychology at UNL, in a press release.
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The research team compared the spring months of the pandemic to the spring months of previous years – using annual data on student drinking habits. In a survey of nearly 1,400 students, the number of drinks consumed in a single social session dropped by 28%.
“We saw differences depending on whether or not the students moved due to the pandemic,” Jaffe said. “Those who moved decreased their alcohol consumption by 49%, while those who did not move reduced their alcohol consumption by 21%, which is still quite substantial.
These results show that living off campus, often with parents, could be a protective factor against excessive alcohol consumption.
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This information is important, Jaffe said, because students tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol their peers drink and, in turn, feel pressured to drink more themselves.