COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders served to decrease adolescent drinking

During the COVID-19 pandemic, policy interventions designed to reduce the virus’ spread included shelter-in-place (SIP) orders and phased “reopenings” of public spaces. Knowing that adult alcohol and substance use generally rose during the pandemic due to factors such as stress, boredom, worsening mental health, and increased alcohol availability, a new study sought to understand the impact of SIPs and reopenings on adolescent alcohol use in California. Analysis shows SIP decreased frequency of alcohol use. Also, compliance with SIP orders was associated with decreased frequency and quantity of use.

Five New Studies Examine Eating Behaviors in Teens and Young Adults

The developmental changes and growing independence that characterize adolescence and young adulthood can make these stages of life both exciting and challenging. New studies at NUTRITION 2022 LIVE ONLINE shed light on the eating behaviors and diets of teens and young adults around the world.

Sleep Disruption Predicts Drinking and Cannabis use in Young People, with Middle and High School Students Potentially Most Vulnerable

A five-year study has highlighted the importance of healthy sleep patterns in relation to future binge-drinking and cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood, as reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The work builds on growing evidence that sleep characteristics are predictive of future substance use and related problems in young people, and could inform strategies for substance use prevention and intervention. Most previous studies assessed only a small range of sleep characteristics, and had limited follow-up. In the new analysis, researchers used six annual assessments from the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) study to examine whether multiple sleep characteristics in any year predict alcohol and cannabis use the following year. Data from over eight hundred NCANDA study participants, aged 12 to 21 at baseline, were included.

How personality and genetics impact link between racial discrimination and problem drinking

A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence shows that the connection of racial discrimination to problem drinking differs based on personality traits. People who tend to act impulsively in response to negative experiences are more likely to report problematic alcohol use that is associated with racism. But, people who enjoy seeking out new experiences are less likely to report problematic alcohol use that is associated with racism. Though this personality trait is thought to be a common risk factor for alcohol use disorder, this study suggests that people with sensation-seeking personalities can better tolerate or cope with difficult situations such as racism.

Racial discrimination linked to drinking through mental health in Black college students

A new study from Arizona State University and Virginia Commonwealth University examined the pathways that contribute to and protect against alcohol use problems in Black American college students. Racial discrimination led to depressive symptoms and to problem alcohol consumption. Positive feelings about being a Black American were associated with a weaker link between discrimination, mental health and alcohol use. The study was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Role Transitions in Young Adults: Link to Drinking, Stress, and Alcohol Consequences

Young adulthood is a period of multiple transitions, with individuals navigating changes in education and employment status, living situation, and relationships. Such role transitions are often positive for the individual. However, a study has shown that when young adults perceive transitions to have a negative impact on their lives, they experience more stress and are at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences. The research, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, is based on data from 767 young adult drinkers, aged 18-23 years at time of recruitment, in the Pacific Northwest region.

About the cannabis and alcohol relationship: it’s complicated

Not only is cannabis the most commonly used illicit – in a number of states – drug among people who drink alcohol, cannabis is also by far the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. overall. New research findings tease out the nuanced relationship between alcohol and cannabis through a survey of regular cannabis users who also report drinking alcohol, as well as heavy drinkers in treatment who also use cannabis. These findings will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021.

COVID-19 pandemic drinking: increases among women, Black adults, and people with children

Risky drinking has been a public health concern in the U.S. for decades, but the significant increase in retail alcohol sales following COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in particular raised red flags for alcohol researchers. New research has assessed changes in alcohol drinking patterns from before to after the enactment of stay-at-home orders. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol consumption is far from ‘one size fits all’

An ongoing analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and related outcomes shows that COVID-related stressors experienced by study participants – including work-, financial-, and family-related stressors – are having a varied impact on individuals with and without alcohol use disorders (AUDs). These results will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shifts in Impulsivity Linked to Changes in Alcohol Use — and Risky Drinking For Some

According to a new study, personality traits are associated with changes in alcohol use and problematic drinking, but these relationships may vary across the lifespan. The study explores alcohol consumption in the context of adult developmental stages. It suggests that changes in impulsivity and in the perceived rewards of alcohol are strongly related to changes in drinking behavior from ages 18-21, and to a lesser degree until at least age 35. Problematic drinking is known to be associated with impulsivity traits: a lack of planning (impulse control), sensation seeking, and the anticipated benefits from alcohol, such as sociability and making activities more enjoyable. Such traits evolve through adolescence and early adulthood. Understanding how shifting factors may elevate the risk to certain people at certain times potentially helps target interventions aimed at reducing heavy drinking and preventing alcohol use disorder (AUD). The study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Rese

People who Use Alcohol and Cannabis Together May Reduce Risks by Choosing Certain Products and Combinations

Young adults who combine alcohol and cannabis use experience fewer negative consequences when they stick with a single type of drink versus consuming multiple types of alcohol, according to a new study. In addition, by avoiding cannabis concentrate they may steady or lower their overall consumption. The findings suggest that for those who choose to sustain their levels of alcohol and cannabis use, judicious choice of products may reduce the risks.

Researchers Surprised by High Levels of Alcohol Consumption among Cancer Survivors

New research JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, using data from NHIS to examine self-reported drinking habits among people reporting a cancer diagnosis, finds 56.5% were current drinkers, 34.9% exceeded moderate drinking levels, and 21% engaged in binge drinking.

Moderate to Heavy Drinking During Pregnancy Alters Genes in Newborns, Mothers

Mothers who drink moderate to high levels of alcohol during pregnancy may be changing their babies’ DNA, according to a Rutgers-led study.