Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Many Ivy League students don't view ADHD medication misuse as cheating: 18 percent use stimulants to help them study

Date:
May 1, 2014
Source:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League college reported misusing a prescription stimulant while studying, and one-third of students did not view such misuse as cheating, according to a new study. Stimulants are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recent studies have shown that students without ADHD are misusing these medications in hopes of gaining an academic edge.

Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League college reported misusing a prescription stimulant while studying, and one-third of students did not view such misuse as cheating.
Credit: locoleal / Fotolia

Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League college reported misusing a prescription stimulant while studying, and one-third of students did not view such misuse as cheating, according to a study to be presented Saturday, May 3, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Related Articles


Stimulants are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recent studies have shown that students without ADHD are misusing these medications in hopes of gaining an academic edge. This study looked at the prevalence of medication misuse at a highly selective college and whether students believe misuse of ADHD medications is a form of cheating.

Researchers analyzed responses from 616 sophomores, juniors and seniors without ADHD who completed an anonymous online questionnaire in December 2012.

Results showed:

  • 18 percent reported misusing a prescription stimulant for an academic purpose at least once while in college, and 24 percent of these students said they had done so on eight or more occasions;
  • juniors reported the highest rate of stimulant misuse (24 percent);
  • 69 percent of those who misused stimulants did so to write an essay, 66 percent to study for an exam and 27 percent to take a test;
  • more students who played a varsity sport and were affiliated with a Greek house reported stimulant misuse compared to students affiliated with only one or neither; and
  • 33 percent of students did not think stimulant misuse for academic purposes was a form of cheating, while 41 percent thought it was cheating and 25 percent were unsure.

"While many colleges address alcohol and illicit drug abuse in their health and wellness campaigns, most have not addressed prescription stimulant misuse for academic purposes," said senior investigator Andrew Adesman, MD, FAAP, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York. "Because many students are misusing prescription stimulants for academic, not recreational purposes, colleges must develop specific programs to address this issue."

Survey results also showed that students who misused stimulants were more likely to view this as a common occurrence on their campus compared to students who had never misused an ADHD medication. Specifically, 37 percent of those who had misused an ADHD prescription thought that more than 30 percent of students had done the same compared to only 14 percent of students who had never misused a stimulant.

The findings from this and similar studies pose a challenge to pediatricians, Dr. Adesman said. "To the extent that some high school and college students have reported feigning ADHD symptoms to obtain stimulant medication, should physicians become more cautious or conservative when newly diagnosing ADHD in teens? Additionally, should pediatricians do more to educate their ADHD patients about the health consequences of misuse and the legal consequences that could arise if they sell or give away their stimulant medication?"

It also is important to consider the ethical implications of prescription stimulant misuse in higher education, said principal investigator Natalie Colaneri, a research assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center.

"It is our hope that this study will increase greater awareness and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for academic purposes," she said. "It is important that this issue be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective: as an issue relevant to the practice of medicine, to higher education and to ethics in modern-day society."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Pediatrics. "Many Ivy League students don't view ADHD medication misuse as cheating: 18 percent use stimulants to help them study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501132630.htm>.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014, May 1). Many Ivy League students don't view ADHD medication misuse as cheating: 18 percent use stimulants to help them study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501132630.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Many Ivy League students don't view ADHD medication misuse as cheating: 18 percent use stimulants to help them study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501132630.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins