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Cognitive Enhancement Drug Use among University Students: The Role of Perfectionism and Perceived Stress.

Andres, L.M. (2019) Cognitive Enhancement Drug Use among University Students: The Role of Perfectionism and Perceived Stress.

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Abstract:Background: The topic of cognitive enhancement (CE) drug use is getting increased attention in media as well as in academic literature. Previous research suggests, that the use of prescription drugs to enhance one’s cognitive capacities is particularly common among individuals in cognitively demanding surroundings, such as universities and schools. Research has shown, that work /study-related stress can have a positive relationship with CE drug use. Furthermore, personality traits can have a positive relationship with CE drug use. The personality trait perfectionism is indicated by literature to be positively related to the perceived level of stress and to a positive attitude towards CE drug use. Therefore, the aim of the study is to expand the understanding of how perfectionism can influence students’ tendency to use CE drugs, with stress acting as a mediator in this relationship. Methods: The participants in this study (n = 244) were recruited via convenience sampling. In total, 77 percent of the respondents were female, while 23 percent of them were male. The majority of participants were of German nationality (80.7%) followed by the Dutch (11.1%). The age ranged from 18 to 28 with a mean of 20.65. The study was conducted as a quantitative cross-sectional online survey, in which CE drug use, stress, and perfectionism were assessed. Correlation analyses were executed to determine the strength and direction of the relationship between the main study variables. The mediation effect of stress was tested using the PROCESS macro model. Results: The results showed that neither the overall level of perfectionism nor the perceived level of stress had a significant relationship with students’ overall CE drug use. Inferentially, stress is not a mediator in this relationship. Nevertheless, the three dimensions of perfectionism showed different correlations with CE drug use and stress. Furthermore, the results revealed a positive relationship between students’ perceived stress and their level of perfectionism. Conclusion: This study supports perfectionism as a multidimensional construct, as the three global factors showed different relationships to stress and CE drug use. Although the proposed mediation model was rejected, significant relationships were found, that suggest a link between the main study variables and can provide insight and inspiration for future research. Furthermore, it was discovered that more students used illicit drugs for cognitive enhancement than prescription drugs. Future research is needed to investigate illicit and prescription drugs in relation to CE drug use and to identify other possible predictors of CE drug use.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/78411
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