Exposure and addiction rates to substances and behaviours among Israeli university students

Anna Snits, Lihi Rozner*, Stacy Shoshan, Einat Peles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Common behaviours, including natural habits such as sex and eating, and even potentially healthy be-haviours, like physical exercise, have been considered for inclusion as addictive disorders. Exposure to and addiction rates of potentially addictive substances and behaviours have never been simultaneously evaluated. Aims: To assess and characterise among university students the level of exposure and addiction rates to several substances and behav-iours simultaneously. Methods: 229 Tel Aviv University students reported their exposure to 13 potentially addictive substances and behaviours in an anonymous questionnaire which included questions based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM 5) criteria for substance use disorders. The students also answered two personality questionnaires: Barratt’s Impulsiveness Scale and the Big Five. Results: Almost half (48%) of the students had at least one addiction, and 64 (58.2%) had more than one addiction, non-to-prescription medication. The most prevalent reported behavioural addiction was internet surfing (34%), followed by eating sweets (27.6%). The number of addictions was linearly correlated to non-planning impulsivity (R = 0.2, p = 0.01) and neuroticism (R = 0.2, p = 0.001) and inversely related to conscientiousness (R =-0.2, p = 0.002). Conclusions: In normative university students, Internet surfing had the highest exposure and behavioural addiction rate. Increased awareness and targeting of gender-specific risk factors may be used to develop university intervention programs to help prevent students from developing substance use and behavioural addictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalHeroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Barratt Impulsiveness Scale
  • Behavioural addiction
  • Big Five Personality test
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • University students


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