Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa Weyandt

Abstract

In recent years, rates of prescription stimulant misuse have increased substantially among young adults ages 18-25 (Chen et al., 2016). Although research exploring correlates of prescription stimulant misuse has increased in recent years, several gaps in the literature remain. With preliminary studies that suggest students with ADHD may be more likely to misuse their stimulant medication than their non-ADHD peers (Janusis & Weyandt, 2010), research is needed to further explore this topic as well as possible rates, predictors, and outcomes of prescription stimulant misuse among college students with and without ADHD. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to examine rates of prescription stimulant medication misuse among undergraduate students with and without ADHD and the relationship between misuse of prescription stimulants, academic behaviors (i.e. study strategies), psychological factors (i.e., anxiety, depression, inattention), and academic performance (i.e., GPA).

The current sample was comprised of college students from several public and private universities within the US (N = 144). Results revealed a statistically significant difference in rates of misuse among college students with ADHD compared to their non- ADHD peers, with higher rates of misuse among males compared to their female counterparts. With depression and anxiety entered into the predictive model, inattentive symptoms were the only significant predictor of misuse in the full sample. ADHD group membership did not have a significant effect on the model. Study skills were not predictive of prescription stimulant misuse among the current sample. In terms of academic performance, symptoms of anxiety and inattention significantly predicted GPA and neither depression nor ADHD were significant in the model. Low motivation and poor test strategies were also significantly predictive of GPA while concentration and ADHD group membership were not, when entered into the same model. Importantly, prescription stimulant misuse did not moderate the relationship between study skills and GPA or psychological variables and GPA.

The present findings have implications for academic interventions aimed at supporting the success of college students with and without ADHD, and help inform academic outcomes of prescription stimulant misuse. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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