Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Laura Holt


National statistics reveal a startling trend concerning ecstasy use among high school students, with over 5% of 10th graders and 8% of 12th graders reporting lifetime use (Dennis & Ballard, 2002). Ecstasy use among college students is even higher, with some studies reporting rates up to 10% (Boyd et al., 2003). Although previous research has documented the prevalence and predictors of ecstasy use, there is a limited understanding of how college students’ perceptions of risk related to ecstasy use are formed. A focus group was conducted using a sample of Trinity College students. In addition, a brief online survey was administered to high school health educators across Connecticut to elucidate the type and depth of drug prevention programs being utilized. Findings revealed that participants’ perceptions of the risks of ecstasy were limited, nonspecific and largely shaped by their peers and media, as opposed to previous health education. In addition, only a subset of drug prevention programs taught in high schools across Connecticut addressed ecstasy and most health educators did not endorse using nationally recognized evidence based programs.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.