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Personal, social and cultural predictors of intention to misuse prescription stimulants among medical students

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:a test of the theory of triadic influence
Objective The misuse of prescription stimulants among students has been identified as a public health problem. To date, most research has focused on individual-level determinants of stimulant misuse, making research on the socio-cultural context of students' misuse a priority. This study aims to test the applicability of the Theory of Triadic Influence, capturing three influence streams (personal, social and cultural) and three causational levels (ultimate, distal and proximal). Method A questionnaire on stimulant misuse was distributed among all bachelor's and master's students from the five Flemish medical faculties. In total, 3159 students participated (48.99% response rate). Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results Multiple personal (i.e., fear of failure, procrastination, self-perceived ADHD, sensation-seeking, academic stress, controllability), social (i.e., living situation, peer endorsement, social norm) and cultural (i.e., competitive study-environment, financial worries, positive and negative expectancies, attitude) factors were identified as risk factors of misuse intention. The strongest ultimate to distal pathway was found between self-perceived ADHD and positive expectancies, meaning that students who believed they have ADHD, although not diagnosed, were more likely to have positive expectancies about stimulants. Moreover, the strongest distal to proximal pathways were found between expectancies and attitudes toward stimulant misuse (i.e., more positive and fewer negative expectancies were associated with more favorable attitudes). Finally, attitudes were most strongly related to misuse intention. Conclusions The current study shows that the TTI is an important framework to understand the risk factors of stimulant misuse among medical students. This study offers a strong basis for prevention initiatives.
Journal: Substance use and misuse
ISSN: 1082-6084
Volume: 57
Pages: 621 - 631
Publication year:2022
Keywords:A1 Journal article