Depression and Substance Use Among Brazilian University Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic there were significant changes in the prevalence of both depression and substance use in Brazil. In this study, carried out between 2021 and 2022, researchers assessed more than 1200 university students for mental health status and the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances.
Using statistical models, researchers calculated the association between substance use and depression. Among the participants 33% screened positive for depression. Alcohol was the most used substance.
Associations found between substance use and depression
|Adjusted Odds Ratio
|Moderate or high-risk tobacco use
|Illicit substance use
The researchers conclude that these findings highlight the importance of implementing support for mental health among university students and addressing risk factors such as substance use.
The prevalence of depression and substance use changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study explored the association between the use of psychoactive substances and depression in Brazilian university students.
This cross-sectional study was conducted between 2021 and 2022. A sample of 1271 students was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST).
Hierarchical multivariate logistic regression models were used to assess the association between tobacco use, alcohol consumption, illicit substance use, and depression.
Among the participants, 424 (33.4%) screened positive for depression. Alcohol was the most consumed substance.
Recent use of illicit substances was associated with depression.
The pattern of moderate or high-risk tobacco use, alcohol use, and illicit substances were associated with higher chances of depression in adjusted models.
Findings highlight the importance of implementing support for mental health among university students. These policies are crucial for addressing maladaptive behaviors, such as substance use, and for mitigating psychological distress, such as depression, which has been exacerbated during the pandemic.