Mental Health Severity Is Associated with Increases in Alcohol Consumption in Young Adult Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kathryn E. Coakley, Micah Zuhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A survey of undergraduate students 18–25 years of age (n = 777) was conducted at a large U.S. University to assess changes in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic and associations with anxiety and depression symptom severity assessed via the GAD-7 and PHQ-9, respectively. Fifty-three percent experienced anxiety, 57% experienced depression, and 46% experienced both in the past two weeks in fall 2020. Alcohol consumption increased 54% from February to October 2020 (p < .01), most pronouncedly in students with severe anxiety (86%), severe depression (180%), or both (83%). Depression severity was associated with the largest increases in alcohol consumption during COVID-19 in students.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
StatePublished - 2021

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