Effect of Caffeine Consumption on Academic Performance in College Undergraduates

7 July 2016

In this study we are interested in assessing the relationship between average amount of caffeine consumed per day and academic performance. We hypothesized that an increase in average caffeine consumed per day would result in increased academic success. A short survey was composed based on average amount of caffeine consumed per day measured in milligrams and academic performance measured by GPA. This survey was administered through Survey Gizmo to Dr. Pleskac’s PSY 395 class, and a total of 59 participants completed the survey.

Overall, there was a slight, negative correlation between amount of caffeine consumed per day on average and academic performance. Increases in caffeine consumed on average were negatively correlated with academic performance. From the results of our findings we are unable to provide strong support for our hypothesis that an increased amount of caffeine consumption will lead to increased academic success. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Effect of Caffeine Consumption on Academic Performance in College Undergraduates Essay Example

Effect of Caffeine Consumption on Academic Performance in College Students Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world and its usage results in dependency among many users. There are benefits to caffeine as it may have positive effects on learning, but there are also negative effects on physical health. It is well known that many college students ingest caffeine prior to studying, writing papers, and taking exams. Caffeine is known to increase alertness, improve mood, and enhance cognitive performance. Increased alertness and concentration allows for easier retention and understanding of material, and can result in increased academic success.

This information leads a person to wonder, is academic performance related to amount of caffeine consumption? A study of caffeine consumption and its association with psychological functioning in college students by Anderson (2009) showed that almost 80% of the subjects studied were regular caffeine consumers, and that most fell into the dependency category after trying to limit caffeine consumption. The majority of college students consume caffeine regularly to assist in academic performance.

Another study on caffeine consumption by college undergraduates by Loke (1988) found that students drank more than their daily consumption of caffeinated beverages when preparing for an examination. This suggests that caffeine may have some beneficial effects on learning. One final study based on caffeine consumption as a predictor of sleep quality by Harris (2009) found that sleep quality plays a large role in academic success, and that caffeine intake is a positive predictor of sleep disturbances.

It was found that students ingest caffeine to improve academic performance, but this results in poor sleep quality and more ingestion of caffeine to curtail sleepiness. This shows that caffeine as well as sleep quality play a role in learning and academic performance, and that caffeine may not always have positive effects for students hoping to improve academic performance. The research on the effects of caffeine stated above leads a person to wonder if caffeine is really beneficial for college students hoping to increase alertness and enhance cognitive performance.

From the research above, it seems that consumption of caffeine before engaging in academic related tasks has beneficial effects for students, such as increased focus. I predict that increased caffeine consumption will have beneficial effects on learning and will result in increased academic success. Method For our study we composed a short survey with questions based on amount of caffeine consumed on average and overall academic performance based on grade point average (GPA).

By asking questions on amount of caffeine consumed on average per day and GPA we are able to determine if there is a correlation between amount of caffeine consumed on average and academic performance. A chart was provided which enabled participants to observe the average amounts of caffeine in each of the four categories and calculate their own average amount of caffeine consumed per day. Our survey was then sent to our fellow classmates, which are undergraduate students taking Dr. Pleskac’s PSY 395 course entitled Research Methods and Design. Participants

We estimate that our survey was sent to approximately 200 students, and 59 completed our survey. The participants are estimated to be between the ages of 18 and 22. It is expected that since the survey was administered to a psychology class and that females make up the majority of the major, the majority of the respondents of our survey will then be female. The participants of our survey are mostly comprised of Michigan State University undergraduate psychology majors. Since this is a higher-level class with prerequisites, the majority of are respondents are most likely in their junior and senior years of college.

Apparatus/Materials The materials used in this study were a survey that we composed and administered by using Survey Gizmo. The operational definition of caffeine will include energy drinks, coffee, soda, and energy shots such as 5-Hour Energy. We chose nine questions for our survey that we felt were important in determining our results. Procedure After composing our survey on Survey Gizmo, it was sent to approximately 200 students in Dr. Pleskac’s PSY 395 Research Methods and Design class. We operationally defined caffeine as energy drinks, coffee, soda, and energy shots such as 5-Hour Energy.

The predictor variable in our study is caffeine and the criterion variable is grade point average. The psychological construct we are using is GPA, which will measure motivation towards school related tasks. These measures will be reliable and valid because our survey is a self-report which includes the same questions for each participant completing the survey, and the results will indicate whether or not caffeine consumption is related to academic success. We ensured that we didn’t collect data from participants multiple times by requesting the last four digits of students APID.

We also only asked questions in our survey that were necessary for the analysis of our results. The first section of our survey includes an informed consent. By pressing continue to move on to the next section of the survey, participants were aware that they have given their consent to participate. Participants are then taken to a short, nine question survey based on their average caffeine consumption and current academic performance. This survey should have taken no longer than five minutes to complete. Participants do not receive any compensation for completing the survey.

Results The purpose of our analysis was to determine if a relationship exists between caffeine consumption and academic performance. If on average students consume large amounts of caffeine and have a high grade point average, we can conclude that academic performance is related to caffeine consumption. If on average students consume a low amount of caffeine and have a high grade point average or vice versa, we can conclude that there is no correlation between academic performance and caffeine consumption.

The results of our analysis can be found in Graph 1, which shows the average amount of caffeine consumed per day and participant’s GPA. Based on our results we found that 59 participants completed our survey. The average GPA was 3. 15 and the average amount of caffeine consumed per day was 218. 92 mg. The standard deviation of GPA was . 789 and the standard deviation of caffeine was 254. 096. A Pearson Correlation was computed to assess the relationship between average caffeine consumed and academic performance.

There was a slight, negative correlation between the two variables, r=-. 143, n=59, p=. 281. A graph summarizes the results (Graph 1). Overall, there was a slight, negative correlation between amount of caffeine consumed per day on average and academic performance. Increases in caffeine consumed on average were negatively correlated with academic performance. Discussion From the results of our findings we are unable to provide strong support for our hypothesis that an increased amount of caffeine consumption will lead to increased academic success.

A correlation of -. 143 is neither positive nor strong which doesn’t allow support of our original hypothesis. Previous studies such as Anderson (2009) and Loke (1988) showed a correlation between increased caffeine consumption prior to studying, examinations, or writing papers, but none of the studies addressed if this actually improved academic performance. While there may be some beneficial effects of caffeine consumption, such as increased alertness and concentration, we can not conclude that caffeine consumption and academic performance are strongly correlated.

One difficult aspect of our study is that amount of caffeine consumed on average per day might vary significantly among students, and they may have a difficulty reporting how much caffeine they consume on our survey. Other limitations are that students may consume caffeine from a source that is not listed on our survey, they may have difficulty converting their amount of caffeine consumed on average into milligrams using the table we provided, or a source of caffeine they ingest may have significantly higher or lower amounts of caffeine than the averages of the table we provided.

For future studies it may be beneficial to have students maintain a record of caffeine consumption on average per day, which will allow precise measures of caffeine intake as opposed to a rough estimate. It also may be beneficial to have students report what kind of work load they have, such as homework, exams, or papers, to determine if the amount of work a student has impacts their average amount of caffeine consumed.

One final suggestion would be to eliminate participants who have caffeine allergies or sensitivities, as they can skew results. The results of our study are important because they allow for the determination of the relationship between caffeine consumption and academic performance. Caffeine is the most widely used drug, so it is beneficial to analyze whether it has positive or negative impacts on academic performance. These findings also provide changes and directions for future research.

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