Collegiate misuse of prescription stimulants: Examining differences in self-worth

Amanda L. Giordano, Elizabeth A. Prosek, Emily A. Reader, Cynthia M. Bevly, Kori D. Turner, Yvette N. Leblanc, Ryan A. Vera, Citlali E. Molina, Sage Ann Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Prescription stimulant medication is commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, stimulant medication misuse is a prevalent problem among the college population. There is limited research on psychological factors associated with collegiate nonmedical stimulant misuse. Objectives: To examine the association between college students' self-worth and stimulant medication misuse. Methods: A quantitative study implemented during the 2013-2014 academic year in which we utilized a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a public university. College students (N = 3,038) completed an electronic survey packet including a stimulant use index and the Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale. We conducted descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) to measure the associations between four groups: Nonusers, Appropriate Users, Nonprescribed Misusuers, and Prescribed Users. Results: Significant differences in contingencies of self-worth existed between the four groups of students. Specifically, external contingencies of self-worth, such as appearance and approval, were associated with stimulant medication misuse, whereas, internal contingencies of self-worth, such as God's love and virtue, were associated with nonuse and appropriate prescribed use. Conclusions/Importance: The findings of the current study suggested contingencies of self-worth partially explain prescription stimulant misuse among the collegiate population. Addressing self-worth may be helpful in the treatment of stimulant misuse with college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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