The Role of Mental Illness in Alcohol Abuse and Prescription Drug Misuse: Gender-Specific Analysis of College Students

Celia C. Lo, Texas Woman's University
Allison N. Monge, Charleston Southern University
Rebecca J. Howell, Charleston Southern University
Tyrone Cheng, University of Alabama


The present study examined whether and how collegians' misuse of prescription drugs and alcohol abuse are associated with mental illness and with a lack of mental health care. Nationally representative data were derived from 5,241 full-time American college students who completed the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. We observed the presence of alcohol abuse/dependence and the nonmedical use of prescription drugs to be associated with relatively serious mental illness and with lack of health care. In pursuing gender-specific results, we found that the association between alcohol abuse and mental illness was stronger among females than males.