Design/Objective: The research is a quantitative exploratory cross-sectional survey among international students. The goal of the research was to explore the relationship between acculturation and patterns and prevalence of substance use among the participants.

Background: There is a paucity of data regarding the influence of acculturation on recreational drug consumption and the prevalence of substance use in the United States among international college students. College students are a high-risk population for drug abuse. Substance abuse among youth is a global problem that has detrimental consequences for one’s health, family, community, and educational and professional life (Makanjuola et al., 2014). Furthermore, international students are even more likely to be vulnerable to substance use, particularly in developed countries where acculturation may promote it.

Methodology: To accomplish this research a total of 260 UT Tyler international students were given online questionnaires hosted in Qualtrics survey platform through institutional email addresses. The calculated sample size for this study was 105. However, 62 participants acknowledged the survey (24% respondent rate). The questionnaire was based on questions regarding sociodemographic, acculturation, substance use frequency, perception of drug and vi alcohol culture, stress and financial status. The students were also given questions on history of substance use. The data analysis for the research study was carried out using IBM SPSS version 24.

Findings: From the analysis, 17.7% students used recreational drugs (tobacco, vaping, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, etc.), 27.4% used prescription and dietary drugs (anxiolytics, sedatives, amphetamines, anti-depressants, anabolic steroids, orlistat, caffeine, etc.) in the previous and 51.6% students said they had not used any drugs. It was established in the research that, acculturation, course major, level of financing, religion, among other factors had little or no influence on patterns and prevalence of substance use. Lastly, father’s level of education has a direct influence on substance use among international students. International students with fathers with a high level of education were less likely to engage in substance use.

Conclusion: Surprisingly, acculturation was not significant to substance use uptake. Father’s education was important.

Date of publication

Spring 1-21-2022

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

William Sorensen, Fletcher Njororai, Cheryl Cooper


Masters of Science in Health Sciences