Publikasi / Jurnal Internasional

Illness Perceptions of Addiction and Substance Use Patterns among Psychology Students

  • 16 December 2020

Astri Parawita Ayu, Cor A J De Jong, Lucas Pinxten, & Arnt F A Schellekens

Background: Negative attitudes towards patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) are common among psychologists. Perceptions of addiction might affect professionals’ attitudes towards patients. Personal substance use is associated with perceptions. Objective: To explore perceptions of addiction among psychology students in relation with their substances use. Methods: Third-year psychology students (N=306) participated in this cross-sectional survey. The IPQ-A was used to evaluate perceptions of addiction. Substance use was self-reported with a standardized questionnaire. Differences in perceptions were analyzed between students who use substances and do not use. Correlation between perceptions and substance use was explored. Results: The commonly used substances were alcohol (89%), nicotine (21%) and cannabis (11%). Students who use substances perceived addiction as more controllable (p=0.03) and understandable (p=<0.01). Nicotine use correlated with the perception that addiction is understandable. Conclusions: Substance use is common among psychology students and that they perceive addiction as a condition with severe consequences and as emotionally stressful. The use of psychoactive substances was associated with the perceptions that addiction is controllable and understandable. Future studies need to explore how training can influence illness perceptions and how substance use among these students relates to their future attitude towards patients with SUD/addiction.