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Date of Graduation
The COVID-19 pandemic has had adverse mental health implications. Young adults have been identified as a particularly high-risk group for increased alcohol use during the pandemic (Capasso et al., 2021). Psychological distress, motives for drinking, experiential avoidance, COVID-19 related fears, and campus connectedness may all be factors related to drinking in college students; however, many of these factors have not been examined during COVID-19. The current study surveyed a sample of full-time, WMU college students (N = 235) who were 18 years old or older (M = 21.13, SD = 3.33). The majority of the sample identified as women (71.9%) and as White (77.4%). The survey asked participants to self-report information about their alcohol use, psychological distress, motives for drinking, experiential avoidance, COVID-19 related fears, and campus connectedness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcohol use was significantly related to stress, anxiety, depression, campus connectedness, and all motives for drinking. Experiential avoidance and COVID-19 related fears were not significantly related to alcohol use in this sample but were significantly related to adverse mental health. Overall, social motives to drink were the most common among college students, coping motives were second, enhancement motives were third, and conformity motives were the least common. These results suggest that motives for drinking may be shifting back to pre-pandemic levels, but that increases in coping motives are still prominent. Interventions with college students focused on reducing alcohol use may be most effective when they target social motivators for alcohol use and seek to create change in larger social environments. Targeting mental health symptoms in addition to alcohol use may also increase effectiveness.
Davis, Nikki, "Factors Influencing Alcohol Use During COVID-19 With College Students" (2022). Honors Theses. 3655.
Honors Thesis-Open Access