Ayvasik, H.B. and Sumer, H.C., Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Substance abuse is one of the leading problems facing many societies (Avis, 1999). Studies have shown that young people between the ages 12 -25 are in high risk for substance abuse (Glantz, Weinberg, Miner, Colliver, 1999). Although the prevalence of substance abuse in young population in Turkey is not even close to that of Western societies, there seems to be a significant increment in substance use among especially high school and college students (Ögel, 1999). The purpose of the present study is to examine the extent of substance use among college students in Turkey and to identify the psychological correlates of substance abuse. Risk taking, sensation seeking, self-esteem, affectivity level (especially, negative affectivity), and overall life satisfaction are expected to be significant correlates of substance abuse. Eight-hundred college students representing different departments and classes in a university in Ankara participated in the study. A survey package including well-established measures of the above variables, a questionnaire assessing the rate and the nature of substance abuse, and a demographic information questionnaire tapping into relevant personal information (e.g., age, gender, family income, parental education, etc.) was administered to the participants during regularly held class meetings. A series of logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify individual differences variables (both psychological and demographic) significantly contributing to substance abuse among college students. Results are discussed within the context of existing literature, and some comments concerning cultural implications are made.