BACKGROUND: The nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NMUPS) is one of the most prevalent illicit behaviors on college campuses. While numerous risk factors for NMUPS have been identified, it is unknown how nonusing students who meet several risk factors for NMUPS differ from those who have used, which may inform intervention efforts. We expected that users would evidence greater cognitive enhancement and anxiety/arousal expectancies and intentions to use, and lower guilt/dependence expectancies, perceptions of NMUPS-related harm, and academic self-efficacy.
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2016, students (N = 121; 65% female) at two demographically dissimilar colleges in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States who reported lifetime NMUPS or endorsed two or more NMUPS risk factors (i.e., recent marijuana use, recent binge drinking, grade point average
RESULTS: A MANCOVA showed that at-risk nonusers had lower cognitive expectancies, higher guilt/dependence expectancies, and higher anxiety/arousal expectancies compared to users. ANCOVAs and Chi-square tests showed that nonusers also perceived NMUPS to be more harmful and were less likely to divert their medication if prescribed. The groups did not differ on academic self-efficacy or total number of risk factors endorsed. However, recent marijuana use was more prevalent in users.
CONCLUSIONS: Targeted preventive interventions for NMUPS should focus on students who are using marijuana and should aim to maintain lower positive and higher negative stimulant expectancies and reaffirm potential NMUPS-related harms.
Substance use & misuse