Non-prescribed stimulant use (NPSU) is an issue among college students. Stimulants such as Adderall are prescribed to those with ADHD, but students report that they are easy to obtain without a prescription on college campuses. A recent study evaluated the possible reasons that college students engage in NPSU.
Participants of this study included over 300 undergraduate students from a small university in southern California. They were asked about their NPSU, demographics, academic motivation, and perception of NPSU on an online survey. The results showed that 11.5% of participants had misused stimulants at least once in their lives, and 5.6% reported having done so in the past semester. Those who engaged in NPSU the past semester had done so between 1-10 times.
The other components of the survey showed that students generally feel that NPSU is unsafe, but feel neutral about the perception that NPSU is considered cheating in academics. The results also showed that majority of students were extrinsically academically motivated. However, no correlation was seen between lifetime NPSU and academic motivation or perceived safety of stimulant use. There was a connection between misuse of stimulants and perceived ethicality and commonality of use. Therefore, students who were more likely to misuse stimulants were less likely to view NPSU as cheating, and believed it was common.
Take Away: College students who do not view non-prescription stimulant use as cheating and perceive it to be common on college campuses are more likely to misuse stimulants.
Pfund, G.N., Miler-Perrin, C., Rouse, S.V. (2018). Factors Associated with Academic Nonprescribed Stimulants Use Among College Students. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. doi.org/10.24839/2325-7342