The present study sought to evaluate the day-to-day patterns of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use among first-year college students in the United States. Using 210 days of weekly time-line follow-back diary data collected in 2002 to 2003, the authors examined within-person patterns of use. The sample was 48% female and 90% Caucasian. Sixty-eight percent of the participants were permanent residents of Indiana. Univariate time series analysis was employed to evaluate behavioral trends for each substance across the academic year and to determine the predictive value of day-to-day substance use. Some of the most common trends included higher levels of substance use at the beginning or end of the academic year. Use on any given day could be predicted best from the amount of corresponding substance use 1 day prior. Conclusions: Although universal intervention might best be focused in the earliest weeks on campus and at the end of the year when substance use is at its highest, the diversity of substance use trajectories suggests the need for more targeted approaches to intervention. Study limitations are noted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health