Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Valerian J. Derlega

Committee Member

John D. Ball

Committee Member

Debra A. Major


ADHD stimulant misuse is defined as taking a stimulant used to treat ADHD either without having a prescription for that stimulant or in a manner that deviates from the prescription’s instructions. This has been a growing trend among undergraduate students over recent years. Prior research has found that misusers are likely to have severe symptoms of ADHD, misuse for primarily academic reasons, and display problems associated with substance abuse. The current study aimed to determine the predictive value of ADHD symptomatology on frequency of ADHD stimulant misuse, mediated by academic motives for misuse and substance abuse problems. The survey for this study was completed by 1,082 students at a state university in southeastern Virginia. Data from 184 misusers were analyzed using SEM path analysis. A significant direct effect was found with ADHD symptomatology on frequency of misuse, and this effect was mediated by academic motives for misuse, but not by substance abuse problems. The results suggest that undergraduate students with undiagnosed problems with attention and hyperactivity might have academic difficulties for which they would turn to ADHD stimulant misuse as a solution. While not analyzed in this study, such a student, who may already be using other substances for non-academic reasons, could later develop medical, social, and family problems associated with substance abuse.


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