Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Laura Holt, PhD.


Numerous studies have shown that nonmedical prescription stimulant use (NMPSU), which refers to the use of drugs like Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription, is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent illicit activities on college campuses. In a recent study on Trinity’s campus, 37% of students endorsed misusing prescription stimulants in the last year. Not all students are at equal risk, however. Risk factors for NMPSU include: being Caucasian, Greek involvement, low GPA (less than 3.5), binge drinking, marijuana use, and low self-efficacy to avoid using. Accordingly, we screened students for these risk factors and engaged students with two or more risk factors, or those who reported a history of NMPSU. Because only one intervention has been reported on in the literature, we utilized motivational interviewing (MI), a strategy that has been used to reduce heavy drinking in college students, in an attempt to reduce NMPSU and to potentially change NMPSU-related attitudes. MI works by “lowering patience resistance, allowing patients to arrive at their own decisions about the severity of their problem and a possible need for change” (Foote et al., 1999). Seventy participants screened in and 56 (80%) of the participants completed the 1-month follow-up survey. The intervention did not have an effect on study self-efficacy, or expectations for cognitive enhancement, feelings of guilt and dependence related to NMPSU, social enhancement expectancies, and concerns about anxiety and arousal from NMPSU. There was a trend towards intervention group participants being more knowledgeable about the side effects of stimulants when misused. Implications for future research are discussed.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College Hartford, Connecticut for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.