How Do Risky Behaviors and Mental Health Differ Among Students Based on Undergraduate Class Status?

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among undergraduate class status, risky behaviors (i.e., alcohol and marijuana use, sexual activity), life satisfaction, and ability to cope. Methods: Undergraduate students (N = 2,961) completed an electronic survey to assess for mental health status and risky behaviors. Results: Compared with others, first-year students reported fewer days of having at least one alcoholic drink, fewer days of having five or more alcoholic drinks in a row, and less frequency of marijuana use. First-year students reported fewer sexual partners and less frequency of sexual activity compared with others. First-year students were more likely to report greater life satisfaction, being able to cope with difficult situations, and greater self-worth, compared with others. Conclusions: As undergraduate students progress through their academic career, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and experience life dissatisfaction.

Publication Title

Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association