Effects of mental health factors on young adult substance use
Katrina Z. Umbaugh
Marta G. Picoto
May 9, 2018
Department or Program
Previous research has linked substance use to symptoms of mental disorders (e.g., eating disorders, anxiety-related disorders, and mood disorders). Our research sought to replicate these findings and explore additional clinical factors as predictors. We surveyed Whitman students through Qualtrics to assess their substance use habits as well as their gender, Greek affiliation, and their levels of anxiety, depression, body image consciousness and self-esteem. Gender and Greek life predicted substance use such that males and those affiliated with Greek life were more likely to use alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco. Negative affect, rather than anxiety and depression individually, also predicted use of these substances. Our findings can provide information for college counseling centers on the relationship between mental health and substance use to help target treatment interventions and can educate students about the implications of mental health on their substance use habits.