[1675.7] Prevalence and Student Perceptions of Prescription Stimulant Misuse at an Ivy League College

Natalie Colaneri, Majnu John, Andrew Adesman. Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, Lake Success, NY; Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, North Shore LIJ Health System, Manhasset, NY.

BACKGROUND: In recent years, studies have reported on stimulant medication misuse for academic purposes (SMMAP) by college students (CS). The link between students' history of stimulant misuse and their perceptions of its prevalence (PoP) on campus and whether it is a form of cheating has not yet been studied.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence and perceptions of SMMAP by students at a highly selective college.
DESIGN/METHODS: Statistical analysis was performed on a data set reflecting responses to an anonymous on-line questionnaire previously emailed to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors at an Ivy League college in December 2012.
RESULTS: In a sample of 616 non-ADHD CS, 18% had used at least one formulation of stimulant medication (SM) to study in college, with 9% having used 2 or more formulations. 16% of seniors, 24% of juniors, and 13% of sophomores admitted to SMMAP at least once. SMMAP was more common among CS affiliated with both a varsity team and a Greek house compared to CS affiliated with one or neither (28% vs. 16%, chi square p=0.0085). No difference in SMMAP was noted between CS who did and didn't receive financial aid (19% vs. 17%). As for frequency of SMMAP, 26% of CS who previously misused SM did so 4-8 times and an additional 24% did so > 8 times. CS with a history of SMMAP (n=112) had misused SM to write an essay (69%), study for an exam (66%), take an exam (27%), and perform research (32%). There was a significant difference in the PoP of SMMAP between CS who have and haven't misused SM themselves (p <0.0001): 37% of past users (PU) estimated >30% of CS misused a SM, whereas only 14% of non-users (NU) agreed, and 57% of NU estimated prevalence at <20% compared to 27% of PU. 41% of CS believed SMMAP was cheating, while 33% thought it wasn't cheating and 25% were unsure. A significant difference was noted in the perception of SMMAP as cheating (p<0.0001); 46% of NU agreed that SMMAP was cheating compared to 18% of PU. Conversely, 63% of PU and 27% of NU thought SMMAP wasn't cheating.
CONCLUSIONS: SMMAP is relatively prevalent among Ivy League students, especially among those with Varsity and Greek affiliations. Students with a history of SMMAP are more likely to view this as a common phenomenon and less likely to view it as cheating. Although SMMAP is considered cheating by many CS, it isn't addressed in the academic honor code of many colleges. The clinical associations and academic implications of SMMAP warrant further study.
First Author is a Recent college graduate; applying to med school
E-PAS2014:1675.7

Session: Platform Session: Male Health & Substance Use (2:45 PM - 4:45 PM)
Date/Time: Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 4:15 PM
Room: East 9 - Vancouver Convention Centre
Course Code: 1675

 

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