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Do College Students Believe Stimulant Medication Improves Grades?


Yes they do…a lot of them do…

Arria et al., (2018) in a study just published in the January issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors found that 29% of college students who have not been diagnosed with ADHD believe that stimulant medication (used predominantly to treat students with ADHD) helps students to earn higher grades in college, and another 38% were unsure.

Data from 6,962 students across nine different colleges in the U.S. were examined over a two-year period spanning 2015-2016. None of these students had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

So, about 2/3 of the students surveyed in this large sample were either unsure or believed that using stimulant medication non-medically, that is, not diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) nor prescribed for medical use, would improve their grades…two-thirds.

One interesting correlate that the study authors also found was that the college students who did believe non-medical use of stimulants would improve their grades (that 29% of the sample) also reported more frequent alcohol and marijuana usage. That’s also concerning for those who treat college students.

So, a large proportion of students in college think the non-medical use of stimulant medication leads to higher grades, but what do the data show?

We’ll follow the data in our next post.

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