Substance Use and Psychological Disorders Among Art and Non-art University Students: an Empirical Self-Report Survey

Fruzsina Iszáj, Máté Kapitány-Fövény, Judit Farkas, Gyöngyi Kökönyei, Róbert Urbán, Mark D. Griffiths, Zsolt Demetrovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Media stories often suggest that those working in the creative arts appear to use and abuse psychoactive substances. The aim of the present study was to analyze the relationship between the use of psychoactive substances and the presence of psychological disorders among art and non-art students. Questionnaires related to these two areas were completed by 182 art students in higher education and a control group of 704 non-art university students. To assess psychoactive substance use, a structured questionnaire including the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST) and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was administered to participants. Psychological disorders were assessed using the Hungarian version of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the Global Severity Index (GSI). After analyzing the data, significant differences were found between the two groups regarding their first use of psychoactive substances. Art students’ current substance use was found to be significantly more frequent compared to the control group. In relation to psychological disorders, art students scored significantly higher on three scales of the BSI (i.e., psychoticism, hostility, and phobic anxiety). Overall, a significantly higher proportion of artists were labeled as “problematic” using the GSI. The results suggest that artists have a higher risk of both substance use and experiencing psychological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Alcohol
  • Art
  • Cannabis
  • Psychoactive substance use
  • Psychological disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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