When the party continues: Impulsivity and the effect of employment on young adults’ post-college alcohol use

Abstract The transition from college to work is both an exciting and potentially high risk time for young adults. As students transition from academic settings to full-time employment, they must navigate new social demands, work demands, and adjust their drinking behaviors accordingly. Research has shown that there are both protective factors and risk factors associated with starting a new job when it comes to alcohol use, and individual differences can moderate these factors. 1361 students were recruited from 4 geographically diverse universities and followed 1month pre- and 1month post-graduation. Drinking frequency, quantity, consequences, and impulsivity were assessed. Full-time employment was related to increased drinking quantity but not related to changes in other drinking outcomes. However, impulsivity moderated the relationship between employment and drinking. For those reporting higher levels of impulsivity at baseline, full-time employment was associated with an increase in drinking variables (quantity and frequency), whereas drinking was unaffected by full-time employment status among those reporting lower levels of impulsivity. Implications for future research are discussed.