New research from the Prevention Research Center of Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation finds that COVID-19 shelter-in-place (SIP) orders may not have directly affected adolescent alcohol use or the places where alcohol was used while longer term, modified reopening orders were associated with decreased past 6-month quantity of alcohol use. Individual compliance with such orders may be a protective factor for alcohol use.
Longitudinal data on alcohol use were gathered from 1,350 adolescents in California. Questions about alcohol use included how often and in what quantity alcohol was used in the past month and six-month periods. Questions about where alcohol was used included restaurants, bars/nightclubs, outside, one’s own home, another’s home, and fraternities/sororities. Data on compliance with orders in essential businesses and in outdoor/social settings were also assessed.
Results indicated that:
- Being under a modified reopening order was associated with decreases in past 6-month quantity of alcohol used.
- Higher self-reported compliance with SIP orders related to social outdoor/social settings was associated with decreases in overall drinking frequency and quantity as well as decreases in frequency and quantity of drinking in all spaces in the past six months.
- Compliance with SIP orders affecting essential businesses and retail spaces was associated with decreased frequency and quantity of drinking at other’s home and outdoors.
In sum, study results indicate that that SIP and modified reopening policies may not directly affect adolescent alcohol use or drinking contexts, but that individual compliance with such orders may be a protective factor for alcohol use.
PRC Study lead author Dr. M. Kristina Wharton notes: “Targeting less policy-compliant adolescents for alcohol use prevention programming may be advisable if restrictive orders or similar conditions are re-enforced in future waves of variants of the coronavirus or new pandemics.”
Source: Wharton, M. Kristina, Anna Balassone, Sue Thomas, Ryan Treffers, Mallie J. Paschall, Lee Lam, and Sharon Lipperman-Kreda. “Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place, Modified Reopening Orders, and Order Compliance Impact on Adolescent Alcohol Use and Drinking Contexts in California: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Addictive Behaviors (2023): 107707. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460323001028?dgcid=author