Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Sociology


Behavioral Sciences


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Sean Huss


Illicit drug use among college students is a well-known phenomenon that has been investigated on numerous occasions throughout the last half-century. Time and time again, research has supported that the single most significant predictor of drug use is the associations, or bonds, that individuals share with their peers, particularly peers that already use drugs (Marcos, Bahr, and Johnson 1986; Kremer and Levy 2008; Werse 2008; Inciardi and McElrath 2015). The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between peer association and drug use among college students. Employing social learning theory and social control theory to propose a new integrated model to explain drug use, it is hypothesized that peers have a significant effect on a student’s likelihood of experimenting with recreational and non-medicinal drugs. A sample of 577 undergraduate students at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) was surveyed about their drug usage and peer relationships. In addition, demographics are explored for their roles as potential predictors of student drug use. This study will provide information regarding the most commonly used drugs among students on the Arkansas Tech University campus, as well as provide information regarding which students are most susceptible to drug use during their time enrolled in the university. Factor analysis and logistic regression are applied to measure the relationship between student drug use and associations with drug-using peers.