Home > Adolescents’ use of free time and associations with substance use from 1991 to 2019.

Kreski, Noah T and Cerdá, Magdalena and Chen, Qixuan and Hasin, Deborah S and Martins, Silvia S and Mauro, Pia M and Olfson, Mark and Keyes, Katherine M (2022) Adolescents’ use of free time and associations with substance use from 1991 to 2019. Substance Use & Misuse, DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2022.2115849.

External website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10826...

Background: Understanding time trends in risk factors for substance use may contextualize and explain differing time trends in substance use.

Methods: We examined data (N = 536,291; grades 8/10/12) from Monitoring the Future, years 1991-2019. Using Latent Profile Analyses, we identified six time use patterns: one for those working at a paid job and the other five defined by levels of socialization (low/high) and engagement in structured activities like sports (engaged/disengaged), with the high social/engaged group split further by levels of unsupervised social activities. We tested associations between time use profiles and past two-week binge drinking as well as past-month alcohol use, cigarette use, cannabis use, other substance use, and vaping. We examined trends and group differences overall and by decade (or for vaping outcomes, year).

Results: Prevalence of most substance use outcomes decreased over time among all groups. Cannabis use increased, with the largest increase in the group engaged in paid employment. Vaping substantially increased, with the highest nicotine vaping increase in the high social/engaged group with less supervision and the highest cannabis vaping increase in the highly social but otherwise disengaged group. Substance use was lowest in the low social groups, highest in the high social and employed groups.

Conclusions: While alcohol, cigarette, and other substance use have declined for all groups, use remained elevated given high levels of social time, especially with low engagement in structured activities or low supervision, or paid employment. Cannabis use and vaping are increasing across groups, suggesting the need for enhanced public health measures.

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