Background: College attendance is a risk factor for frequent and heavy drinking and marijuana initiation but less is known about the extent to which risk varies by type of college attendance and across age. Methods: Using panel data of young adults who were high school seniors in 1990–1998 from the Monitoring the Future study (n = 13,123), we examined the associations between college attendance at age 19/20 (4-year college full-time, other college, and non-attendance) and subsequent alcohol and marijuana use at age 21/22, 25/26, 29/30 and 35. Inverse propensity score weighting was used to balance the three college groups on pre-existing differences when examining associations with substance use outcomes. Results: Compared to non-attendance, attending a 4-year college full-time was associated with significantly greater odds of binge drinking at age 21/22 (aOR = 1.20) and 25/26 (aOR = 1.12) and lower odds of alcohol abstinence at age 35 (aOR = 0.51). Similarly, other college attendance was associated with greater odds of binge drinking at age 21/22 (aOR = 1.08) and 25/26 (aOR = 1.04) and lower odds of abstinence at age 35 (aOR = 0.70). Four-year college full-time attendance was associated with greater odds of marijuana use at age 21/22 (aOR = 1.07) and 25/26 (aOR = 1.02) but lower odds at age 29/30 (aOR = 0.99). Other college attendance was associated with lower odds of marijuana use at age 25/26 (aOR = 0.98) and 29/30 (aOR = 0.97). Marijuana use at age 35 did not differ by college attendance. Conclusions: College attendance may confer elevated risk of substance use post-college. The magnitude and duration of risk vary by type of college attendance and substance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The analyses and manuscript preparation were funded by grants R01 DA037902 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and R01 AA023504 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to M. E. Patrick. Data collection and manuscript preparation were funded by grants R01 DA001411 and R01 DA016575 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse .
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.
- Alcohol use
- Alcohol use disorder
- College attendance
- Marijuana use
- Marijuana use disorder