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J Drug Educ. 1992;22(4):353-65.

Academically successful drug users: an oxymoron?

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  • 1Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Nevada, Reno 89557-0131.


The present study examines substance use among academically successful students. The data were collected in two discrete anonymous surveys of 2,288 ninth-grade and 2,653 eleventh-grade California students, and 1,043 ninth-grade and 862 eleventh-grade students from a large suburban county. Over 70 percent of the academically successful students from both samples reported some type of drug use. These successful students were divided for comparison into three groups according to their involvement with drugs: abstainers, conventional users, and high-risk users. The analyses indicated that the negative association between drug use and academic achievement may be counter-balanced by mediating factors identified in the study. These factors included high "educational aspiration," "parent educational level," and "emotional stability."

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