Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


School Psychology



First Advisor

Lisa L. Weyandt


The current study investigated the prevalence of the non-medical use of prescription stimulant medication (active use in the absence of a valid prescription) by graduate students. The project sought to determine whether the rate of non-medical use in this population would be commensurate with usage rates observed in the undergraduate, law, and medical student populations. The study also explored the relationship between perceived knowledge and safety of stimulant medications and non-medical use. Additionally, the study explored the relationship between non-medical use of prescription stimulants with academic self-efficacy, psychological factors (anxiety, depression and stress), and internal restlessness. The present study recruited 807 graduate students from universities located in five geographic regions of the United States. Participants completed measures concerning demographic information, stimulant use, internal restlessness, academic self-efficacy, and psychological distress. Past-year rates of self-reported non-medical use were determined to be 5.9%, with overall lifetime prevalence rate of 17.5%. Motivations for use reported by participants were both academic and social in nature. Self-reported non-medical use of prescription stimulant medications was observed to be significantly correlated with self-reported levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, with various aspects of internal restlessness, and with perceived safety of the medications. Internal restlessness and the perception of safety of stimulant medications were observed to partially predict the non-medical use of prescription stimulants. Effective prevention and education efforts are needed to help address the non-medical use of prescription stimulants by graduate students on university campuses.



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