Perceived Stress, Energy Drink Consumption, and Academic Performance Among College Students

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In their article, “Perceived Stress, Energy Drink Consumption, and Academic Performance Among College Students,” Pettit, M. L. and DeBarr, K. A. investigated the effects of energy drink consumption on stress and academic performance of American, Midwestern college students. The study also compared gender and seniority of the students. Energy drinks have become increasingly popular among school age young adults. Although these drinks, which are loaded with sugar, taurine, carbohydrates, and caffeine, give students a boost in mental and physical capabilities, they also have numerous health risks including dependency, difficulty sleeping, heart problems, and tendencies toward risky behavior. Two of the primary reasons for this widespread use are lack of knowledge about health risks and aggressive, pervasive marketing by energy drink companies such as Red Bull and Monster. Evidence also exists that energy drinks are utilized as a psychological crutch, not unlike alcohol, cigarettes, or illegal drugs. The study revealed that students under greater degrees of stress tended to utilize energy drinks more often, corroborating this hypothesis. Energy drink consumption was, to a limited degree, inversely proportional to grade point average, again suggesting negative effects overall. In terms of gender, men claimed to have consumed more drinks more often than women at every year level. This is in accordance with male socialization which condones aggressive, poorly thought out, risky behavior. When comparing year levels alone, juniors tended to consume the most drinks, most likely due to entrance into numerous difficult courses for their majors. Unfortunately, a lack of predictable trends indicates that consumption patterns are unique for different students rather than being universally habitual. Furthermore, additional research is needed to pursue avenues of prevention, intervention, public awareness, healthy alternatives, and reasons for gender disparities. Overall, the alarming popularity of energy drink use on college campuses must be better understood in order to address academic inconsistencies, health problems, and unusual behavior.

Rhetorical Analysis:

In the article, the authors begin by presenting their secondary information, followed by a detailed explanation of methods, instrumentation, data analysis, results of their study, and finish with their comment of conclusions.  The authors also include the limitations associated with this study at the end of the article.  Their conclusion is a detailed reflection on the findings and identification of the limitations of this study.  The authors assume the reader(s) know that there’s a correlation between drinking energy drinks and risky behaviors.  Medical terminology is also used without explanation; two examples would be the terms Tachycardia and Myocardial Infarctions.  The article is presented in an academic writing style, with individuals in the medical field as the intended target audience.  The data and results are detailed in the article, illuminating the possible effects of drinking energy drinks and aspects of daily life for college students.  The authors support themselves with numerous table and information presented by previous studies to identify the purpose of the study; they also identify the limitations of their study to acknowledge their particular study wasn’t flawless.  The author appeals to logos in this article and makes their logical claim that drinks with excessive caffeine and other substances are harmful to someone’s health, even though they are marketed as potentially helpful drinks.  The thesis is clearly stated in the introduction, stating the purpose of the study and what the researchers are looking to accomplish with this study.  The authors use results from previous research studies to build on their thesis, as well as their own findings to support their conclusion.  The authors reference previous studies and research as support.  The supporting information provided by the authors is not based on opinion, but more importantly the data is supported with previous research results.  The sources the author includes in her article are cited at the end of the document, on the reference page.
Primary Analysis

Pettit and DeBarr are trying to see if there is an existing relationship between perceived stress and energy drink consumption among college students, the relationship between energy drink consumption and academic performance among college students. The secondary purpose of the article is to evaluate differences in gender demographics relating to energy drink consumption and perceived stress levels. The experiment was designed by collecting data from students using a survey consisting of six questions relating to how often energy drinks are consumed, GPA, gender, and class rank. The study was conducted at a southern University using 136 undergraduate students. The data was kept using correlations and scales. The research used was correlative research because the authors are trying to see if there is a relationship between the collected sets of data. The data presented is very strong. The results match what the authors were suspecting. They also had an appropriate r and p to show that the data is correct with what they are saying. After the data is collected, the authors begin to make assertions.  One assertion made is that the more stress the average student feels, the more energy drinks the student consumes. With this assertion backed up by data, the authors go on to suspect that the energy drinks is linked with previous research with correlation between stress and substance abuse.  Much like tobacco, alcohol and other substances, the energy drinks are being used as a means of coping with the stress. This is not backed up by research but inferred by linkages to other research and simple speculation. Another assertion made by the others was a little more surprising. They found that the more prepared students did not drink energy drinks when stressed, they also got higher grades. The last assertion made was the comparison between today’s energy drink consumption and the once common consumption of coffee in college students.  

**From a separate article analysis than the above three sections

Article as Representative to the Health Field

The overall make up of the article is detailed, scientific, and repetitive. These qualities are characteristic of the medical field, and the writing that is associated with it. While the article focuses mainly on the representation of health issues in social media, it is also helpful for those working in the medical field. This article provides a view to the medical professionals about how their information concerning health, illnesses, and wellness can be skewed by the media. Not only that, but it provides the doctors and nurses with a view on how and why people have certain beliefs about medical problems. For example, those suffering from depression may be less likely to agree to take antidepressants based on commercials they have seen on television. The patients may be influenced by advertisements, and already form an opinion about a concern before consulting with a qualified professional.

Based on the information in this article, medical professionals may be able to better understand how to effectively communicate with journalists and entertainers. With the medical personnel having a better understanding of the wishes of the journalists, and vice versa, there is potential to decrease the inaccurate portrayal of health in social media.

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