Katherine Gorman is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Theodore Elenhorn, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Jennifer Lexington, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Gina Pasquale, Psy.D. Committee Member


prescription stimulants, expectancies, medical students, ADHD, PSEQ-II

Document Type


Publication Date



Research suggests that individuals’ expectations about a drug’s effects are predictive of various types of substance abuse, including nonmedical prescription stimulant use (Torrealday et al., 2008). Nonmedical prescription stimulant use, or NMPSU, refers to any use of prescription stimulants without a medical prescription, use of prescription stimulants for nonmedical purposes, or use that exceeds what is prescribed (Bavarian, Flay, Ketcham, &Smit, 2013). NMPSU is associated with a number of negative outcomes, including drug and alcohol abuse, risk-taking behavior, mental illness, physical health problems, and lower educational attainment (McCabe, Teter, Boyd, & Wechsler, 2005). While most previous research has focused on college students, there is evidence that medical students are also at high risk for NMPSU (Emanuel et al., 2013; McNiel et al., 2011). This dissertation study investigated the usefulness of the Prescription Stimulant Expectancy Questionnaire–II (PSEQ–II) in identifying and classifying different types of prescription stimulant users in the medical student population. The results suggest that the PSEQ–II can effectively discriminate between users and nonusers in the medical student population, but not between medical and medical/nonmedical users. In addition, the results indicate that medical students’ expectancies about cognitive enhancement and anxiety and arousal correlate with past prescription stimulant use, even when ADHD symptoms are controlled for. These findings should help inform preventions and interventions for NMPSU in the medical student population.