Transitions into young adulthood: Extent to which alcohol use, perceived drinking norms, and consequences vary by education and work statuses among 18–20 year olds

Christine M. Lee, Jennifer M. Cadigan, Anne M. Fairlie, Melissa Ardelle Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Introduction With many young adults pursuing post-secondary education and many working, understanding the importance of education and work roles on alcohol use are of developmental and clinical importance. Utilizing a sample of 18–20 year-olds transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood, the current study examined how social role statuses in education (i.e., not in school, 2-year students, 4-year students) and work status (i.e., unemployed, employed part-time, employed full-time) were associated with alcohol use, alcohol-related consequences, and perceived drinking norms. Method Participants were 18–20 year old young adults (54% female) participating in a one-time online survey about alcohol use and sexual behavior. Regression models were conducted to examine associations between school status and work status with alcohol related outcomes. Results Individuals who were unemployed had a significantly lower likelihood of any heavy episodic drinking (HED) in the past month, consumed fewer drinks per week, and experienced fewer alcohol-related consequences compared to individuals who worked full-time. Individuals who worked part-time consumed fewer drinks per week and had lower perceived drinking norms compared to individuals who worked full-time. No significant associations were found for alcohol use and consequences by education status. Discussion Working full-time is a risk factor for HED, greater weekly drinking and negative alcohol-related consequences when compared to young adults who are unemployed, and to a lesser extent with young adults working part-time. Workplace interventions may be one approach to reach heavy drinking young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018



  • 2-year students
  • 4-year students
  • Employment
  • Work status
  • Young adults

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