Tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use among first-year U.S. college students: A time series analysis

Lisa Dierker, Marilyn Stolar, Elizabeth Lloyd-Richardson, Stephen Tiffany, Brian Flay, Linda Collins, Mimi Nichter, Mark Nichter, Steffani Bailey, Richard Clayton, David Abrams, Robert Balster, Ronald Dahl, Gary Giovino, Jack Henningfield, George Koob, Robert McMahon, Kathleen Merikangas, Saul Shiffman, Dennis PragerMelissa Segress, Christopher Agnew, Craig Colder, Eric Donny, Lorah Dorn, Thomas Eissenberg, Brian Flaherty, Lan Liang, Nancy Maylath, Elizabeth Richardson, William Shadel, Laura Stroud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-699
Number of pages20
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Alcohol
  • Autocorrelation
  • College student
  • Marijuana
  • Person centered
  • Smoking
  • Time series
  • Tobacco
  • Trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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