Newswise — According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 25 percent of college students report having suffered academic consequences for their drinking habits. Other consequences of alcohol and drug consumption may include unintentional injury, physical or mental substance dependency, and death. One University of Missouri-Columbia senior conducted research to determine how college students perceive the risks associated with these personal alcohol and drug-use habits, and will present his findings to Congress on April 19.
Last August, Andrew Littlefield collaborated with Kristina Jackson, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at MU, to research students' perceptions of personal substance use and the problems associated with this alcohol and drug consumption. Littlefield said the study will help researchers identify students who are likely to incorrectly assess their personal drug use.
"Though many problems are associated with college student substance use, such as low grades and poor health, the vast majority of students fail to perceive their habits as problematic, especially in regard to alcohol," Littlefield said. To collect data, Littlefield and Jackson administered two separate questionnaires to MU students and then compared responses.
"The first questionnaire asked about students' perceptions of their own substance use," Littlefield said. "The second questionnaire assessed students' personal histories, the extent of their substance dependency and the problems they encounter as a result of substance use, such as missed classes or late work arrivals."
Littlefield will travel to Washington, D.C., on April 19 to present his research. He was one of 60 U.S. student researchers selected from more than 200 applicants for participation in the Council on Undergraduate Research's 2005 Posters on the Hill Program.
The Posters on the Hill Program offers undergraduate researchers the opportunity to present to Congress contemporary research that could have important implications for public policy and future legislation.