Adolescent Girls and Alcohol Use: Increasing Concern During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Academic Article


  • ABSTRACT: Adolescence is a time known for risky behaviors and often the initiation of alcohol use. Readily available, alcohol is often one of the drugs of choice for adolescents. Whereas in the past 30 years, the overall consumption of alcohol is down, the data in the past 10 years have shown more girls are binge drinking and meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The alarm of early alcohol use is the association with problems with the substances later in life. Historically, men and male adolescents consumed more alcohol than females. Recent studies indicate girls' alcohol use surpasses boys, whereas women now are developing AUD at the same rate as men. The consequences of early use can result in women's increased risk for multiple cancers, having a more severe form of AUD with less alcohol consumption as well as premature death. To further exacerbate this growing concern, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a perfect storm for increased use of alcohol to cope with the stress of living in an uncertain world. Normal daily activities have been halted with the uncertainty of school closures, zoom classroom sessions, and living in mandated social isolation. All nurses need to be screening for how families under their care have been managing stress. The time is opportune to educate and support parents in engaging their children in conversations around substance use. Parents can be supported to increase awareness of their own coping mechanisms and strengthen positive coping. Adolescents need support to strengthen interpersonal skills as well as make informed decisions concerning when and how they engage in alcohol consumption. This article will illuminate the growing need for all healthcare providers to assess and guide adolescents' coping skills during COVID with a focus on mental health, high-risk behavior, and alcohol use.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Smith TS; Bryant PH; Fogger SA
  • Start Page

  • 59
  • End Page

  • 64
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 1