Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Donald P. Masey, PsyD

Second Advisor

Ashley Poole, PsyD

Third Advisor

Michael B. Roberts, PsyD


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is commonly diagnosed in childhood, yet research indicates that symptoms persist into adulthood for approximately two-thirds of clinical cases. Stimulant medications are the primary treatment for all ADHD presentations across developmental ages. This prospective study investigated the relationship between nonmedical prescription stimulant use (NMPSU), mood, anxiety, and quality of life among graduate college students. Quantitative data from 321 participants were obtained using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHO-QOL) measure. Four participant groups were examined: those with ADHD engaging in NMPSU, those with ADHD not engaging in NMPSU, those without ADHD engaging in NMPSU, and those without ADHD not engaging in NMPSU. The majority of participants were White/Caucasian (53.6%), female (51.1%), and without a formal ADHD diagnosis (64%). Of those reporting ADHD (36%), 28% were prescribed stimulants, with a 30% adherence rate. Analysis using non-parametric tests revealed significant differences in mood and anxiety between specific participant groups. Quality of life subdomains showed variations, with physical health and social relationships demonstrating significant differences among groups. This study, focusing on the often-overlooked graduate student population, provides valuable insights into the intricate interplay between NMPSU, mental health, and quality of life. The findings offer a foundation for targeted interventions and support services tailored to the unique challenges faced by graduate students in academic and professional settings.

Included in

Psychology Commons