Brescia Psychology Undergraduate Honours Theses

Date of Award

Winter 4-12-2021




Professor Richard Shugar


Drug use among college students is common and can be associated with adverse effects. This study sought to identify how drug-related beliefs about risk and descriptive and injunctive social norms vary for a variety of legal, prescription, and illicit drugs. The relationship between these attitudes, locus of control and social desirability was also assessed. A sample of 58 female undergraduate students from a university in Ontario, Canada completed a web-based survey. Findings indicated no association between locus of control and any other measures apart from social desirability and descriptive marijuana norms, which were also associated. Although marijuana was perceived as the least risky, most commonly used, and most socially accepted substance, there were inconsistent associations between substance specific risk and both types of substance specific norms, generally. Excluding prescription opioids, legal substances were perceived as riskier than illicit substances. These findings suggest that social norms may impact risk perception in certain drugs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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