Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://ah.nccu.edu.tw/handle/140.119/140127


Title: College fields of study and substance use
Authors: 陳人豪
Chen, Jen-Hao
Chen, Wei-Lin
Keywords: Education;College major;Health behaviors;Health disparities;Substance use
Date: 2020-10
Issue Date: 2022-05-19 16:18:10 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Background
Numerous studies have documented factors that are associated with substance use behaviors among college-aged individuals. However, relatively few studies have considered the heterogeneity of the college experience by field of study (i.e., college major) and how that educational context might affect students’ health behaviors differently. Drawing from theories and prior research, this study investigates whether college majors are associated with different substance use behaviors, both during college and upon graduation.

Methods
The study analyzed longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 97 (N=1031), specifically data on individuals who obtained a bachelor’s degree, to examine the associations between college fields of study and trajectories of three substance use behaviors: smoking, heavy alcohol use, and marijuana use.

Results
The results indicate that social science and business majors were associated with more substance use behaviors than arts and humanities and STEM majors. However, social science majors were associated with a faster decrease in substance use behaviors over time. Importantly, the differences we found in mean levels of substance use behaviors and trajectories were not explained by demographic characteristics, family SES background, childhood health conditions, and employment experience. Further analysis that examined college major and each substance use behavior individually suggests that the associations were stronger for heavy alcohol use and marijuana use. Moreover, we found the associations were more pronounced in men than women.

Conclusions
The study finds that not all college majors show the same level of engagement in substance use behaviors over time, and that the associations also vary by (1) the specific substance use behavior examined and (2) by gender. These findings suggest it is important to consider that the different learning and educational contexts that college majors provide may also be more or less supportive of certain health behaviors, such as substance use. Practical implications are discussed.
Relation: BMC Public Health, 20, Article number: 1631
Data Type: article
DOI 連結: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09722-1
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