Australian university students' attitudes towards the use of prescription stimulants as cognitive enhancers: perceived patterns of use, efficacy and safety

Partridge, Brad, Bell, Stephanie, Lucke, Jayne and Hall, Wayne (2013) Australian university students' attitudes towards the use of prescription stimulants as cognitive enhancers: perceived patterns of use, efficacy and safety. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32 3: 295-302. doi:10.1111/dar.12005

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Author Partridge, Brad
Bell, Stephanie
Lucke, Jayne
Hall, Wayne
Title Australian university students' attitudes towards the use of prescription stimulants as cognitive enhancers: perceived patterns of use, efficacy and safety
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-5236
1465-3362
Publication date 2013-05
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/dar.12005
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 32
Issue 3
Start page 295
End page 302
Total pages 8
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction and Aims. Recent, high profile articles in leading science journals have claimed that the enhancement use of prescription stimulants is a common practice among students worldwide. This study provides empirical data on Australian university students' perceptions of: (i) the prevalence of prescription stimulant use by their peers for cognitive enhancement; (ii) motivations for such use; (iii) efficacy; and (iv) its safety.
Design and Methods. Participants were 19 Australian university students with an average age of 24 who were recruited through emails lists, notice board posters and snowball sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted during 2010 and 2011, recordings transcribed and responses coded using thematic analysis.
Results. Participants typically did not believe the use of stimulants for cognitive enhancement was common in Australia. Perceived motivations for use included: (i) ‘getting ahead’ to perform at high levels; (ii) ‘keeping up’ as a method of coping; and (iii) ‘going out’ so that an active social life could be maintained in the face of study demands. Australian students were generally sceptical about the potential benefits of stimulants for cognitive enhancement and they identified psychological dependence as a potential negative consequence.
Discussion and Conclusions. This study is an important first step in understanding the use of stimulants for cognitive enhancement in Australia, amid calls for more widespread use of cognitive enhancing drugs. It is important to conduct further studies of the extent of cognitive enhancement in Australia if we are to develop appropriate policy responses.
Keyword Cognitive enhancement
Neuroenhancement
Attitude
Qualitative research
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 1 NOV 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2013 Collection
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 13 Feb 2013, 11:22:00 EST by Mrs Maureen Pollard on behalf of Paediatrics & Child Health - RBWH