Year of Publication

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Melody Noland

Abstract

Recently, energy drinks that contain high caffeine content without any age restrictions for purchase, have been introduced into the U.S. market. Caffeine consumption in the U.S. has increased dramatically, resulting in an increase in emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers. This increase in energy drink consumption, along with the traditional coffees, teas, and soft drinks that people consume regularly, have pushed caffeine consumption to new highs in a multi-billion dollar market.

The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the amount of caffeine consumed by a sample of freshmen students at Marshall University, (2) their beliefs regarding caffeine consumption, (3) reported perceived benefits and adverse effects of caffeine consumption, (4) reasons for consuming or refraining from consuming caffeine, and (5) predictors of high and low caffeine consumption.

Eighty three percent reported having at least one sign/symptom of caffeine intoxication in the past while 51% reported having at least one sign/symptom of caffeine withdrawal. More than 78% consumed above the recommended 200mg of caffeine per day. The mean milligram of caffeine consumed per day in the present study was 849.86, which computes to 12.08 mg/kg/day. This was three to five times the recommended amount. Father’s social index, participation in organized activity in college, and three items for concentration, keep awake, and wake up (items of alertness) were statistically significant predictors of caffeine consumption. Respondents that participated in organized activity while in college consumed on average 60.7% more caffeine than those who indicated they did not participate in organized activity while in college. Every time the three items for concentration, keep awake, and wake up increased one point, caffeine consumption increased on average 41.1%. Females were more likely to believe that caffeine is addictive than their male counterparts. Beliefs of negative consequences of caffeine consumption did not deter caffeine consumption. Slightly more than 60% reported using caffeine to wake up in the morning and more than 76% reported using it to stay awake. This was consistent with reported beliefs of the effects of caffeine consumption. Implications for education were discussed.

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