A mixed methods investigation of non-medical prescription stimulant use to promote wakefulness at an Atlantic Canadian university

King, Eleanor Rosalind (2020) A mixed methods investigation of non-medical prescription stimulant use to promote wakefulness at an Atlantic Canadian university. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study is a mixed-methods investigation into the non-medical use of prescription stimulants for the purpose of staying awake among students at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The quantitative part of the study involved a comprehensive online survey, which asked for information regarding demographic characteristics and substance use, and included standardized measures of sleep, mental health and attitudes towards non-medical use of prescription drugs. A total of 3,699 participants were recruited and the clean, complete data for 3,160 participants was used for the analysis. The prevalence of non-medical use of prescription stimulants for the purpose of staying awake was 3.1%. The factors associated with such use were alcohol, tobacco and nicotine vapour use, poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and more liberal attitudes towards the non-medical use of prescription drugs. The factors associated with these more liberal attitudes include male gender, non-White ethnicity, international student status, alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine use, depressive symptoms and clinical level of anxiety symptoms. Factors associated with less liberal attitudes were part-time study and borderline level of anxiety symptoms. In order to provide more insight into why students use prescription stimulants for staying awake, ten semi-structured interviews were conducted. Participants reported obtaining the stimulants from friends who had prescriptions for ADHD, and stated that they were using them to stay awake longer in order to study, indicating that the underlying motive for misuse was academic stress.Participants recognized that such use could impact sleep and reported using exercise and meditation as alternatives to stimulant use, but admitted that stimulants were much more effective in the short-term. Any prevention/intervention programs should involve promoting sleep hygiene and academic skills, as well as highlighting the negative effects of non-medical prescription stimulant use. These programs should be aimed at the aforementioned groups of students who are at most risk of engaging in such use.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14319
Item ID: 14319
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 126-142).
Keywords: sleep disturbance, prescription stimulants, prescription medication, attitudes, wakefulness
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: May 2020
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: College students--Drug use; Medication abuse; Stimulants.

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