A new study finds overall drinking and binge drinking declined among U.S. college freshmen in the first few months of the pandemic.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that social factors such as social distancing and reduced support from friends were associated with decreased alcohol use in freshmen, HealthDay reports.
The study included survey data from 439 college freshmen. The survey found overall drinking rates decreased from 54% before the pandemic to 46% four months into the pandemic. Rates of binge drinking decreased from 35% before the pandemic to less than 25% four months after the start of the pandemic.
“The dominance of social factors suggests that reductions in alcohol use may not be sustained once college students return to campus,” lead researcher Jane Cooley Fruehwirth said in a university news release. “For students who were already drinking prior to the pandemic, universities can support them by providing ways to help them manage stress, through counseling, student support groups and particularly targeting challenges with distance learning through academic coaching.”