Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 191–195 | Cite as

Substance Use and Attitudes on Professional Conduct Among Medical Students: A Single-Institution Study

  • Daisi Choi
  • Vera Tolova
  • Edward Socha
  • Charles P. Samenow
Brief Report



This study sought to examine how specific substance-use behavior, including nonmedical prescription stimulant (NPS) use, among U.S. medical students correlates with their attitudes and beliefs toward professionalism.


A group of 74 students from Weill Cornell Medical College-New York and 32 from Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar completed pre- and post-clerkship questionnaires assessing their attitudes toward psychiatry.


An anonymous survey was distributed to all medical students at a private medical university (46% response rate). Participants were asked to report alcohol and marijuana use patterns, NPS use, stress levels, and history of suicidal ideation. Results: Over one-third of medical students reported excessive drinking during the past month, and 5% reported NPS use during the past year. Students who endorsed such behavior were significantly less likely to view it as unprofessional and warranting intervention. A large number of students seemed unfamiliar with how to help a classmate with an NPS use problem.


Medical students’ substance use behaviors appear to influence attitudes and beliefs toward professional issues regarding substance use.


Medical Student Academic Psychiatry Stimulant Medication Problematic User Clinical Vignette 
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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daisi Choi
    • 1
  • Vera Tolova
    • 2
  • Edward Socha
    • 3
  • Charles P. Samenow
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of Emergency MedicineGeorgetown University Hospital/Washington Hospital CenterWashington, DC
  2. 2.Dept. of Emergency MedicineEinstein Medical CenterPhiladelphia
  3. 3.United States Dept. of EducationWashington
  4. 4.Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesGeorge Washington UniversityWashington

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