While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted young adults' alcohol use patterns, little is known about how changes in alcohol use may differ across different settings. Our objective was to identify and compare factors associated with changes in alcohol use among young adults in Canada and France during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted an online cross-sectional survey in October-December 2020 with young adults aged 18-29 (n = 5185) in Canada and France. In each country, weighted multinomial logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with self-reported decrease and increase in alcohol use separately (reference: no change). Respectively, 33.4% and 21.4% reported an increase in alcohol use in Canada and France, while 22.9% and 33.5% reported a decrease. Being 25-29 was a predictor of decrease in Canada, while living away from family was associated with an increase in France. In both countries, participants were more likely to report an increase if they reported depressive symptoms, smoking tobacco, or cannabis use. Conversely, those who had been tested for COVID-19 and those who were highly compliant with COVID-19 preventive measures were more likely to report a decrease. Efforts are needed to develop alcohol use interventions for young adults, including in ways that prioritize those with mental health challenges.
Keywords: COVID-19; Canada; France; alcohol; depressive symptoms; online survey; young adults.