Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Higher Education Administration

Major Professor

Norma T. Mertz

Committee Members

Gary J. Skolits, Shawn L. Spurgeon, John S. Wodarski

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to measure graduate student prescription stimulant use by assessing the extent of use, reasons for use, and poly-substance use. Graduate students (n = 1,015) enrolled at a large Southeastern university completed the Student Life Survey. The data were analyzed using a variety of analytical techniques including descriptive statistics, frequencies, and a stepwise logistic regression in order to answer the research questions guiding this study:

  1. What is the extent of prescription stimulant abuse among graduate students on college campuses?
  2. What are the reasons for graduate students’ illicit use of prescription stimulants?
  3. Are graduate students who abuse prescription stimulants more likely to abuse other substances?

The findings reveal that 15% of graduate students surveyed had illicitly used prescription stimulants in their lifetime, and 5.1% had used in the last 12 months. The primary reason they gave for illicitly using prescription stimulants included academics (67.5%), with recreational use occurring at a smaller rate (30.5%). Graduate students who illicitly used prescription stimulants in their lifetime, were found to be more likely to use other illegal drugs than those who had not done so. Specifically, graduate students who illicitly used prescription stimulants in their lifetime were 1.5 times more likely to use marijuana, 6.3 times more likely to use cocaine, and 2.4 times more likely to use ecstasy.

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