Are depressive symptoms a moderator of risky drug use within international students experiencing acculturative stress?
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The period of life between the ages of 18 and 25 is a period of increased vulnerability to various mental health problems. Research shows that while young adults are at increased risk for developing mental health problems, international students are more likely to endure psychological distress than domestic students due to factors related to acculturative stress. Acculturative stress has previously been associated to various mental health difficulties such as depression and suicidal ideation. Due to limited research on the coping mechanisms of international students, the aim of this study is to examine whether (a) there is an association between acculturative stress and risky use of drugs, and (b) whether depressive symptoms moderate this association among international students. Method: participants (n=125) completed an online survey that consisted of three questionnaires, (QIDS SR-16), (ASSIS) and a survey on frequency of risky drug use. Results: A Regression Moderation Analysis through PROCESS was used, indicating that there was no significant relationship between acculturative stress and drug use b = -.106, 95% CI [- .276, .064], t = -1.232, p =.220. There was also no significant relationship between depression and drug use b= .063, 95% CI [-.547, .674], t = .205, p= .837. Moreover, there was no significant moderation effect, b= .011, 95% CI [ -.020, .043], t = .712, p= .477, indicating that the relationship between acculturative stress and drug use was not moderated by depression. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that there was no significant relationship between acculturative stress and risky drug use. Thus, higher levels of acculturative stress was not associated to higher levels of risky drug use within international students in the present study. Additionally, there was no significant moderation effect, indicating that depressive symptoms did not moderate the association between acculturative stress and risky drug use.