Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

M. Scott DeBerard


M. Scott DeBerard


Scott Bates


JoAnn T. Tschanz


Prescription opioids, when used as medically intended, can be effective in pain management. However, the consequences and costs of widespread misuse of prescription opioids in the United States are cause for concern. Prescription opioids are related to increased risk of death and injury. Young adults, between the ages of 18 and 25, have the highest rates of misuse nationally and within this age group, college students may be particularly at risk. In order to effectively curb the growing misuse of prescription opioids within college populations, we must have a better understanding of the factors that potentially lead to misuse.

This study used an online survey, distributed to a sample of 616 undergraduate students at four-year universities nationally to collect information about prescription opioid misuse and potential predictors of misuse. Results showed that 17% of undergraduates in the study had misused opioids at least once in their lifetime. Results also showed the being older, male, living in Greek housing, having friends that use illicit drugs or misuse prescription drugs, and experiencing moderate to severe depression were risk factors for misuse. Students who believed their parents/guardians held negative views of prescription opioid misuse were less likely to misuse. The implications of these findings as well as limitations and future directions are discussed.



Included in

Psychology Commons