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Substance Use and Interpersonal Violence: Exploring Potential Threats to Underrepresented Minority Students’ Academic Success

Substance use is increasing among college students and is a significant risk factor for interpersonal violence. The current study looks at sexual and physical violence along with substance use among underrepresented minority students.

This study pulled samples from the National College Health Assessment which includes 40 post-secondary institutions across America. The final sample size for this study included 6,172 American Indian, Alaskan Native or Hawaiian, African American, or Hispanic/Latinx young adults. Participants were surveyed about physical violence in the past year, sexual violence in the past year, alcohol use in the past 30 days, marijuana use in the past 30 days, cocaine use in the past 30 days, methamphetamine use in the past 30 days, and current cumulative grade point average (GPA).

Results show 2% of African Americans reported sexual violence and 4% reported physical violence. Hispanic/Latinx students reported 1% and 3% sexual and physical violence, respectively. 72% of these respondents reported both sexual violence and active alcohol use. American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students reported 2% and 4% sexual and physical violence. Results also showed that a decrease in GPA was associated with physical violence and marijuana use for African American participants. Hispanic/Latinx students showed an association with decreased in GPA and physical violence along with marijuana use and methamphetamine use. Finally, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students showed an association between decreased in GPA and marijuana use.

Take Away: This study looks at sexual and physical violence and any associations with substance use and grade point average among underrepresented minority students. The study took 6,172 students from a larger study called the National College Health Assessment. Participants were surveyed about physical and sexual violence, alcohol use, marijuana use, cocaine use, methamphetamine use, and current cumulative grade point average (GPA). Overall a decrease in GPA was associated with physical violence and marijuana use for African American Participants. Hispanic/Latinx students showed an association with decreased in GPA and physical violence along with marijuana use and methamphetamine use. Finally, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students showed an association between decreased in GPA and marijuana use.

Blackdeer, A. A., Wolf, D. A., Beeler-Stinn, S., & Duran, B. (2020). Substance Use and Interpersonal Violence: Exploring Potential Threats to Underrepresented Minority Students’ Academic Success. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 152102512091163. doi:10.1177/1521025120911638

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