In Brief

  • More than half of college students have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives, and most don't tell anyone about it or seek professional help, finds a Web-based survey conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. The top reasons students cited for these thoughts included wanting relief from emotional or physical pain and problems with romantic relationships or academics, said lead author David J. Drum, PhD.

  • Adults diagnosed with childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have lower high school grades, forgo higher education, hold low-status jobs or lose their jobs, find researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo. These findings add to a growing appreciation in the field of ADHD research that daily life functioning, in addition to ADHD symptoms, may need to be directly targeted in treatment, said Aparajita Biswas.

  • New research shows it may not pay to set specific savings goals too far in advance. In a study on how people save money, Leona Tam, PhD, and Utpal M. Dholakia, PhD, found that those who plan and estimate their savings only a month at a time are twice as likely to save more money than those who plan more than a month ahead. This may be because planning to save in a shorter time frame helps people see steady improvements without feeling too much pressure. Tam's advice is similar to many diet regimens, she said: "Set targets not too close so you don't see progress, but not too far away either so you don't get discouraged."

  • First-year college students with lots of "friends" on the social networking Web site Facebook may have a tougher time adjusting to college, finds research by Maria Kalpidou, PhD, psychology professor at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. Kalpidou surveyed 70 undergraduate students about their Facebook use patterns and found that college freshmen with 200 friends or more on the site showed lower levels of self-esteem and personal and academic adjustment. Yet, upper-class students with lots of Facebook friends showed higher levels of social adjustment and enthusiasm for their institution. This may be due to upper-class students using Facebook connections to enhance their social life in college more effectively than first-year students, researchers said.

  • A University of North Dakota driving-simulation study testing steering, concentration and scanning abilities showed that antidepressants may impair driving ability, and that depressed drivers on these medications perform worse behind the wheel than those who don't experience depressive symptoms. In light of the rising number of Americans taking antidepressants, psychologists must promote client awareness of a drug's possible cognitive effects on academic and work performance, as well as driving ability, said lead researchers Holly Dannewitz, PhD, and Tom Petros, PhD.

  • A study from the Rutgers University Center of Alcohol Studies suggests a possible relationship between performance-enhancing drugs and high-risk alcohol and other drug use. Male student athletes who use banned performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids or creatine, are also more likely to drink heavily and use other substances, including marijuana, prescription drugs without a prescription, weight-loss products and non-banned nutritional supplements. Enhancement of mandatory university drug-testing and the development of preventive interventions targeting these athletes may help combat this growing problem, said lead author Jennifer F. Buckman, PhD.

  • A stick of gum may not help every smoker kick the habit, finds a study led by Texas Tech University clinical psychology student Joseph W. VanderVeen. While chewing gum decreased nicotine withdrawal urges among less impulsive smokers, with or without gum, more impulsive smokers reported greater nicotine withdrawal severity and experienced higher cortisol levels, VanderVeen said. These findings suggest that researchers must take personality traits into account when developing smoking-cessation tools.