Associations between substance misuse, social factors, depression, and anxiety among college students
(1) Webb School of Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee, (2) Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Research on substance misuse and mental health is becoming increasingly important. Many individuals struggle with their mental health and turn to substances to cope. It is important for those who are struggling with their mental health to not turn to substances, as substance use could exacerbate their mental health concerns. Recent studies suggest that individuals in long-term relationships may have a lower chance of misusing substances. Therefore, our research question examines how an individual’s relationship status correlates with mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and fear of missing out (FoMO). This was tested using a survey sample of college students. We hypothesized that individuals with higher substance use (alcohol and drug use) will have increased levels of stress, anxiety, FoMO, and depression. We also hypothesized that those engaged in long-term relationships will have decreased levels of FoMO and substance use. By surveying college students with questions related to our hypotheses, we found that those with higher substance misuse had higher levels of anxiety, depression, and FoMO, and that those involved in longer-term relationships had lower levels of FoMO and alcohol use. These findings have identified important risk factors that may serve as targets for on campus prevention and intervention efforts for college student well-being.
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