Attitude Towards Substance Use among Female Graduate Students: A Predictive Variable.

Author:Campbell, Stephen

Dear Editor.

We are writing to express our concern related to a significant gap within the existing research related to substance use. The data collected and analyzed from our recent study named "Attitude Towards Substance Use Among Female Graduate Students: A Predictive Variable" demonstrated that attitude towards drugs and the perceived benefits thereof may be able to predict substance use. Although the college undergraduate student population is well represented within studies on substance use, the female graduate population has remained largely unexplored. Additionally, there is a paucity of studies focused on the influence that attitudes towards substance use and the perceived benefits of substance use has on actual use. The study was a non-experimental, observational study using a cross-sectional approach with a predictive design exploring the risk factors associated with alcohol and drug use among female graduate students. As such, the study focused on the relationship between attitude and substance use, while controlling for the mental health of female graduate students. As such, the study investigated how well attitude towards drugs and their perceived benefits predict substance use of graduate students.

Alcohol and drug use continue to be a major problem concerning college students in the United States (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2015). Although there have been multiple studies exploring substance and alcohol use among college undergraduates, there is relatively little known regarding alcohol and substance use among female graduate students, despite the growing number of female students matriculating in graduate programs (National Center for Education Statistics (NCIS), 2010). Young, Morales, McCabe, Boyd, and D'Arcy (2005) revealed an increasing trend of alcohol consumption among female college students and may eventually even surpass that of males (Young, et al., 2005; Akvardar, 2004).

Additionally, researchers continue to explore factors that may explain the variation in alcohol use among college students. For instance, Perkin (1999) found that stress-related drinking and the associated negative effects began earlier for women than men. Furthermore, Perkin found that college graduate students endorsed lower levels of alcohol consumption for the purposes of social inhibition and stress-reduction, thereby suggesting that students use substances as a temporary solution for some immediate relief. Similar to the rise in alcohol consumption marijuana and non-medical use of prescription medication are also rising among college students (Arria, O'Grady, Caldeira, Vincent, & Wish, 2008).

There is a significant relationship between attitudes and behaviors (Nanda, 2017). In general, the perception of a specific behavior as being beneficial or consequential is related to the attitudes of individuals towards that behavior. The more favorable an individual's attitude, the stronger the intention to engage in the behavior. Attitudes regarding alcohol and drug consumption are largely ignored in the literature...

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