Prescription drug misuse, social learning, social control, general strain, college
Prescription drug misuse (PDM), defined as use without a prescription or solely for the feeling or experience caused by the drug, has become a popular topic among substance use researchers. While the vast majority of studies on the topic tackle epidemiological questions surrounding PDM, there is a notable lack of studies that look specifically at risk factors rooted in sociological/criminological theories. The current research seeks to bridge this gap in the literature by examining theoretically based explanations for PDM among college students utilizing three criminological theories commonly applied to other forms of substance use: Social Learning Theory, Social Bonding/Control theory, and General Strain Theory. In addition, this study also seeks to examine differences in user types characterized by motives for misuse as they relate to predictors stemming from these theories of interest. Utilizing an independently collected sample of 841 college undergraduates from a large southern university, the findings show that nearly one in four students misused prescription drugs in the past semester. Motivations for PDM were primarily instrumental in nature, with very few respondents misusing solely for recreational purposes. Furthermore, social learning based risk factors could best account for PDM within the sample with partial and indirect supports also found for strain based risk factors as well. Implications of these findings as well as theoretical and practical applications are presented.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Watkins, William C., "Prescription Drug Misuse Among College Students: An Examination Of Sociological Risk Factors" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2250.