Substance Use Expectancies; A Holistic Exploration of Expectancies and Their Role on Illicit Substance Use Behaviors Among College Students

The aim of my research is to explore the expectancies that college students hold regarding use of illicit substances, more commonly referred to as substance use expectancies. The rationale behind my research is that there is a growing epidemic in this country (Jones, Bruera, Abdi, Kantarjian, 2018), suggesting the need for new approaches to this problem. As current practice stands, most standard forms of treatment for substance use disorder involves some form of behavioral counseling, medication, evaluation & treatment for dual diagnosis, and long term follow ups that track sobriety (NIDA, 2019). My hypothesis is the reason why students partake in harder illicit drugs like prescription stimulants is different for why they may use more socially acceptable substances like alcohol. If this study is able to better identify some of the expectancies that college students have regarding the use of specific substances, then there may be a way to deconstruct the positive substance use expectancies and provide more realistic information that could potentially lead to fewer negative expectancies, which will result in cessation of use. Within this study, students will be surveyed to assess their expectancies regarding usage on a socially acceptable substance like alcohol and another that can be seen as more socially deviant, such as, the improper use of prescription stimulants. Upon examination of expectancies, risk factors will also be looked at to see if they are contributing to the creation of these expectancies. I will make suggestions regarding relevant psychoeducational materials based on the findings.


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