Benign Stimulant or Mild Addictive: A Survey of Caffeine Intake Among College Students
- Archana Sharma, Health Sciences Division, California State University Dominguez Hills
- Matthew Ting, Health Sciences Division, California State University Dominguez Hills
The purpose of this study is to examine caffeine consumption trends and their impact on health amongst college students in Orange County. Caffeine is the most widely consumed behaviorally active substance in the forms of coffee, soda, energy drinks, and vitamin supplements. Most people are aware that caffeine boosts both physical and mental performance, especially under conditions of fatigue, sleep deprivation, or prolonged vigilance (Stafford et al., 2006). There are also consequentially negative effects of caffeine such as diuresis, changes in blood pressure, and withdrawal symptoms. The research was conducted through a survey, which comprised of questions pertaining to caffeine consumption. This survey was available via email, Facebook, Survey Monkey and approaching students in person. The sample was 75 college students. 93.3% of the sample consumes caffeine and only 54.7% of them are aware of the negative effects of constant caffeine consumption. The data revealed that an alarming amount of caffeine users had limited knowledge on the totality of caffeine’s effects. 56% believe that caffeine enhances their performance levels and the other 44% consume it for other reasons. For those who drink recreationally rather than for performance boosts, it can be deduced that they are addicted. 55% attain no more than 6 hours of sleep on a daily basis, showing a correlation between lack of sleep and caffeine usage. 92% believed that they would not be able to stop consuming caffeine. These finding affirms the additive nature of caffeine products. This study calls for outreach to college and high school students who abuse caffeine by providing education of the potentially harmful effects of the substance. Questions regarding the forms through which students’ intake caffeine were also included. There should be public health warnings on caffeine products, which can heighten the awareness of physiological and psychological risks associated with caffeine intake.