Peer Isolation Lowers Youth Substance Use, Study Finds

Mental Health News

Researchers at West Virginia University revealed how peer isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic reduced youth substance use. The study is published in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports.

The Study

Surveying 49 studies, the researchers examined the prevalence of adolescents’ substance use—including the use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and e-cigarette/vaping.

The Findings

The results revealed that peer isolation and home confinement reduced opportunities for teens and children to venture outside the home environment and partake in substance abuse during the pandemic.

One of the lead researchers, Hannah Layman, elaborated: “One of the driving factors for youth substance use is access to substances. With stay-at-home orders, virtual schooling, and social distancing—children have been spending more time with family and are more socially isolated from peers than before.” While this isolation has harmed their mental health, it has positively reduced substance use disorders in children.

Controlling How Adolescents Use Drugs

Youth substance use has detrimental effects, such as mental health issues, liver damage, delayed puberty, etc. But, according to the researchers, it can be controlled easily with increased parental supervision, telemedicine, social support, and psychoeducation.

To Know More You May Refer To

Layman, H.M., Thorisdottir, I.E., Halldorsdottir, T. et al. Substance Use Among Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic: a Systematic Review. Curr Psychiatry Rep 24, 307–324 (2022).

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