142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Effects of information seeking about amphetamines and marijuana from media and interpersonal sources on intention to engage in nonmedical drug use among college students: The mediating role of attitudes and perceived normative pressure

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lourdes Martinez, PhD , Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Nehama Lewis, PhD , Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Background: The transition to college is a period in which a significant number of college students initiate nonmedical use of amphetamines and marijuana. The goal of this study is to understand how young adults in their early years at college acquire drug-related information while transitioning into an environment with more permissive norms and behavior surrounding non-medical drug use. Specifically, this study examines effects of information seeking from media and interpersonal sources on college students’ behavioral intention to engage in nonmedical drug use, and how this information acquisition may shape drug use trajectories. Guided by the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction (IMBP: Fishbein, 2010), we test pathways of influence for information seeking behaviors from both types of sources on behavioral intention.

Methods: Four hundred and ninety-eight college students ages 18-25 participated in an online survey conducted between October 2012 and April 2013. 

Results: Information seeking from interpersonal sources was positively associated with intention to use amphetamines nonmedically.  Information seeking from media sources was positively associated with intentions to use marijuana nonmedically.  Additionally, the impact of information seeking on intention to engage in nonmedical drug use operates, indirectly, through changes in drug attitudes, which also emerged as the strongest determinant of drug intentions.

Conclusions: The findings suggest ways in which (easily accessible) information about drugs may influence drug-related attitudes, the most proximal predictor of drug intentions, and how this knowledge may be used to inform drug prevention efforts targeting at-risk young adults.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between drug-related information seeking and drug-related outcomes among college students. Identify pathways of influence between sources of drug-related information searches and drug-related outcomes. Discuss ways to use drug-related information seeking status as an indicator of future drug trajectories.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor at the Communication Department at Michigan State University. I previously coauthored peer-review journal articles on information seeking behavior. This paper is jointly written with my co-author.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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