It would seem that the pandemic did not only reduce the time that young people spend with friends outside their homes, but it also caused a drop in alcohol consumption among college students.

A study titled, "Changes in Alcohol Consumption Among College Students Due to COVID-19: Effects of Campus Closure and Residential Change" published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, revealed that during the pandemic, many college students reduced the quantity of their drinking during the pandemic. Many returned to live with their parents and they noted that this could be a protective measure against heavy drinking during emerging adulthood.

More than 300 students were surveyed by the researchers for about two months after campuses were closed in spring due to the pandemic. The researchers ascertained the drinking habits of students, as well as their living arrangements before and after the schools' shutdown.

Three groups of students with different living arrangements were studied: Those who lived with their peers before and after the closure, those who were living with their parents before and after school closure, and finally, those who lived with their peers before the closure but returned to live with their parents after the schools were closed.

Out of the three living arrangements, researchers found that the number of days that they were drinking fell in the group who were living with peers before the school closed and moved with their parents after. There was an increase in days in the other two groups - those who were living with peers before and after the closure and those who were living with parents throughout.

Aside from the reduced number of days of drinking, the number of drinks that were consumed per day also decreased in the group who were living with their peers before closure but moved with their parents. The same trend was seen in the other two groups.

Drinking among college students dropped Photo: Pixabay

Helene White, lead researcher and professor emeritus at Rutgers University's Center of Alcohol & Substance Use studies in Piscataway, New Jersey, said that the reduction in drinking among students did not only come about because they went back home to their parents but it is because drinking is a social behavior for college students. She said that without the associated social interaction, students are less likely to drink heavily.