Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Laura Holt


For the past decade, researchers have been warning of the impending possibility of a prescription stimulant crisis and consequently, an epidemic (Faraone et al., 2020). With the rise in legitimate prescriptions for stimulant medications, there is a greater possibility for these medications to be medical misused or diverted. Medical misuse is the “inappropriate use of a stimulant medication that was initially prescribed for the treatment of ADHD” such as taking too much or too little or using through alternative routes of administration (Sepúlveda et al., 2011, p. 551). Diversion is “transfer of medication of one patient for whom it is prescribed to one patient for whom it is not prescribed” (Wilens et al., 2006, p. 408). The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of prescription stimulant misuse and diversion, specifically conduct problems such as lying, stealing, and setting fires, and perceptions of legal, physical, and disciplinary risk. A total of 91 participants (67% identified as female, 21% identified as male) completed a baseline survey for a longitudinal study focused on students with stimulant prescriptions. Most participants denied a history of diversion (n=65; 71%), but the majority (n=66; 73%) reported medical misuse. As hypothesized, there was an indirect effect of conduct problems on diversion through perceptions of risk, such that students who endorsed more conduct problems perceived fewer risks associated with prescription stimulant misuse and, in turn, were more likely to divert their medication. Conduct problems and perceptions of risk were not associated with medical misuse, as hypothesized. These findings help broaden our understanding of characteristics associated with diversion and may inform future prevention programming.


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

Included in

Psychology Commons