Gender Differences in Nonprescribed Psychostimulant Use in Young Adults

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9 Scopus citations


Background: In order to better understand the recent rise in nonprescribed use of psychostimulants on college campuses, motives, outcomes, and acceptability of nonprescribed psychostimulants have been evaluated. Despite knowledge that students use nonprescribed medical stimulants for improved academic performance and recreational use, gender differences in these motives have not been examined, despite the fact that the social construction of gender may well affect motives for use. Objectives: The goal of the present study was to examine gender differences in motives, outcomes, and acceptability of nonprescribed psychostimulant use. Methods: 2716 undergraduates (1448 male) between the ages of 17 and 57 years (M = 19.43 years, SD = 1.7 years) completed an online survey examining subjective motives of nonprescribed psychostimulant use, as well as behaviors after use and moral views of nonprescribed use. Results: Consistent with hypotheses and known gender differences in social motivation, results suggested that while females are more likely to use nonprescribed psychostimulants for reasons related to schoolwork, males are typically more likely to use psychostimulants for reasons related to partying and socializing. Additional gender differences were that males are more likely to take part in other risky behaviors after use of psychostimulants, as well as view nonprescribed use as more moral and less physically dangerous than females. Conclusions/Importance: This work suggests that there are striking gender differences in motivation and outcomes of use of nonprescribed psychostimulants, which may have implications for personalized approaches for prevention of nonprescribed psychostimulant use on campuses based on gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-628
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 21 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Psychostimulants
  • gender differences
  • nonprescribed use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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