This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Do Symptoms of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Independently Predict Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants in a College Student Sample?




Gayleard, Jessica

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




As evidence for the construct of SCT continues to grow, it is important for further research to continue investigating how symptoms of SCT may impact functioning in college students. The current study examined whether SCT symptoms in college students are predictive of nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NMUPS), above and beyond those of commonly comorbid disorders, including symptoms of ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Participants (N = 1142) were undergraduate college students attending a public, Southeastern university who completed an online survey. Prevalence of NUMPS at least once in the students’ lifetime or over the past 12 months was 19% and 13%, respectively. SCT was moderately correlated with ADHD and internalizing symptoms. NMUPS was modestly correlated with ADHD, internalizing symptoms, and SCT. Using hierarchical regression models, ADHD-Inattention and depressive symptoms often significantly and uniquely predicted NMUPS, but the strength or consistency of these findings was dependent upon the timespan over which participants reported their use and whether NMUPS was analyzed based on use/nonuse or frequency of use. SCT did not uniquely contribute to the prediction of NMUPS but often influenced the unique prediction of previously entered clinical variables for the final models. Overall, the current study adds to the existing and growing body of literature investigating SCT as a possibly distinct construct, separate from ADHD. In addition, the current study provides supporting evidence for the associations between ADHD, depression, and substance use.