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Misuse of prescription stimulant medication in a sample of college students: Examining differences between varsity athletes and non-athletes

Summary: The misuse of prescription stimulants (MPS) has been identified as an adverse health behavior among college students. Because stimulant medication is often taken to increase focus and decrease reaction time, these substances have the potential to enhance athletic performance. However, the role that athlete status (varsity athlete vs. non-athlete) has on MPS has rarely been examined in the college student population. Overall, 98 (13.9%; 16.6% non-athletes v. 7.5% varsity athletes) respondents reported past-year MPS and varsity athletes were significantly less likely (p < 0.05) to do so. Past-year MPS was also significantly associated with energy drink consumption, tobacco use, and heavy episodic drinking in our sample. Concerning MPS-related motivations, athletes more often cited a need to enhance athletic performance as the impetus for their misuse. Varsity athletes were significantly less likely to engage in past-year MPS and were motivated to do so for different reasons.


Gallucci, AR and Martin RJ. Addictive Behaviors 2015; online access July 17.

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