Symptoms of Depression and ADHD in Relation to Stimulant Medication Misuse Among College Students
Background: The misuse of stimulant medications, commonly used for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a concern on college campuses. Objective: This study sought to examine the relations between the misuse of stimulant medications and symptoms of depression and ADHD. Method: Eight hundred and ninety students ages 18–26 from one public university took a web-based survey including rating scales measuring symptoms of depression and ADHD. Results: The prevalence rate of misuse in the past year was 23%. Symptoms of depression were significantly related to misuse; however, once symptoms of ADHD were included in the analysis, depression was no longer a significant predictor. Further, there was not a significant interaction between ADHD and depression, but symptoms of ADHD were significantly related to misuse. Conclusions/Importance: Results suggest that attention difficulties may be one of the most important factors in predicting stimulant medication misuse. Therefore, prevention efforts to reduce the misuse of stimulant medication would be most successful when targeting students with symptoms of inattention.