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This study examined attitudes toward drug and substance use during emerging adulthood (18-26 years of age), a stage of the life span that works as a transition into adulthood and is defined by exploration and openness. Since drug and substance use among emerging adults is often a subject of current debates, it is important that more research is done about why young people think of certain drugs the way they do. Specifically, this study focused on how perceptions of drug and substance abuse are related to cultural values (individualism/collectivism) during emerging adulthood. To accomplish this goal, attitudes towards drugs in general, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco were compared to levels of emerging adulthood and the cultural variables of individualism and collectivism. To quantify these attitudes and variables, 200 participants (18-26 years of age, 133 females, 65 males, and 1 trans*) responded to an online survey with questionnaires assessing attitudes towards drug use, beliefs about consequences of three different drugs, emerging adulthood development, individualism/collectivism, and demographic background. It is expected that (1) students with higher levels of emerging adulthood exploration would be more likely see drugs more positively, and (2) that students who are more individualistic will also tend to see drug use in a more positive way, as individualism supports choice and self-exploration. Results are expected to be relevant for achieving a better understanding of the way people think about drugs. If evidence demonstrates factors in these attitudes, incorrect or harmful attitudes can be targeted through these areas.

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Alcoholic beverages; Drugs; Nonprescription--Utilization; College students


Developmental Psychology | Health Psychology

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Conference Proceeding

Attitudes Towards Drug and Alcohol Use: Culture and Emerging Adulthood