ATOD Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Adolescents

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The COVID-19 pandemic created several changes to the daily lives of adolescents, including, but not limited, to altering the risk factors associated with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use. The purpose of this study was to examine any changes in the frequency of ATOD use and perceptions of ease of availability of ATOD. Additionally, this study investigated if there was a correlation between the stress of COVID-19 and ATOD use and if adolescents who saw ATOD use on social media or online were more likely to use themselves. Secondary data from a longitudinal study that was collected in the spring of 2020 and fall of 2020 was utilized for this study. A random sample of students in grades 7th through 12th were recruited from their public schools throughout Riverside County, California. In spring 2020, participants completed a paper and pencil survey, and in fall 2020, they completed an online survey. Results indicated that that there was no change in ATOD use or perceptions of ease of access to ATOD from spring 2020 (pre-COVID-19) to fall 2020 (in-COVID-19). No correlation was found between stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and adolescent ATOD use. This study did find that adolescents who reported seeing their friends use ATOD through social media or other online contexts were more likely to use ATOD. The results of this study suggested that future research should examine the role of social upheaval, social media use, and peer affiliation needs related to adolescent ATOD use.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health