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Musicians' Perceptions of Widespread Drug Use among Musicians

Kris S. Chesky John Hipple
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 14 Number 4: Page 187 (December 1999)

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Abstract: From the beginning and throughout a musician's career, the perception of drug use among other musicians may be an important factor in developing attitudes and behaviors related to his or her own drug use. This study examines musicians' perceptions of the extent of widespread drug use among musicians. A heterogeneous sample of musicians (n = 3,278) participated by filling out the University of North Texas Musician Health Survey. Results showed that approximately one-third of this sample perceived that drug use among musicians is widespread. However, almost 40% indicated that they did not know whether drug use is widespread among musicians. Nonparametric statistics, multiple regression with optimal scaling, and ordered probit analysis were used to determine patterns in the perception of drug use among musicians by gender, age, formal college instruction in music, and musician type. Gender and age characteristics were observed indicating that younger musicians and males were more likely to implicate drug use, whereas older musicians and females were more likely to indicate they don't know. The differences between groups based on amount of formal college instruction in music were less clear. The strongest link to the perception of drug use among musicians was musician type. Nonclassical musicians were more likely to report widespread drug use compared with classical musicians. The specific drugs reported as used included marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. Further research is needed to understand factors contributing to these perceptions and the relationship between perception and actual drug use among musicians.

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