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This study investigates the role of stress in the substance use behavior of black and white college students We examine the issue across race and look both at measures of traumatic stress and life stress A perusal of the research literature reveals that the relationship between traumatic stressors and substance use behavior among both black and white college students has yet to be examined Data used in this study are from a convenience sample of 1587 college students from a Midwestern state Substance use is measured using three measures illicit drug use heavy episodic drinking and alcohol problems as measured by the RAPI Principal method of analysis is multiple regression Findings indicate that both life stress and traumatic stress are associated with increases in substance use However our analysis showed that the relationship between stressors and substance problems varies by race and gender Life stress is associated with greater alcohol problems for all groups except for black males while traumatic stress is associated with increases in alcohol problems for whites only Traumatic experiences are associated with heavy episodic drinking for white women onlyIn this paper the role of stress in the substance use behavior of black and white college students is investigated Stress has been discussed as an important factor in the substance use behavior of college students but there has been insufficient attention to race in these studies Through a focus on racial differences in the role of stress in substance use among colleges students we seek to extend the research in this areaThe role of stress in substance use among college studentsThere have been important studies of stress in substance use among the college population in the research literature Generally the literature provides evidence that stress motivated drinking occurs Carpenter Hasin 1999 Colder Chassin 1993 McCreary Sadava 2000 Perkins 1999 Rutledge Sher 2001 Students experiencing higher levels of stress tend to use substances at greater levels and correspondingly
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