Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Sean Laraway


Alcohol use, Cigarette use, College, Gender differences, Stress, Student health

Subject Areas



Stress, alcohol consumption, and cigarette use represent three considerable threats to the mental and physical health within this country. Learning more about the prevalence and predictors of these threats in young adults may aid the development of programs to reduce the deleterious effects of these threats as young adult's age. A vast amount of research has been done to examine the possible association between stress and substance use in college students, but given the diversity of college students across the US, more research is needed targeting specific college campuses. This study did so with regard to a sample of students from San José State University (SJSU), in San José, California. The data were collected by the SJSU Student Health Center. Participants who reported having below average to no stress were more likely not to have consumed alcohol during the preceding 30 days. Those students who reported having above average to tremendous stress levels were more likely to have used alcohol at least once in the last 30 days. No significant relationship between stress and cigarette use was found. In terms of alcohol and cigarette use, participants who reported using alcohol at least once in the past 30 days were significantly more likely to have smoked at least once in the past 30 days. Women were more likely to report feelings of above-average stress than to men. Women were also significantly more likely to have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days. Finally, no gender differences were found with regard to drinking habits.

These findings provide information that may be helpful in guiding prevention, education, and treatment efforts on the SJSU campus.