Suzanne Wood (Groppe)

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology, Faculty of Arts & Science

Title: Attitudes of University Students with ADHD Towards the Non-Prescribed Use of ADHD Medications

Research Focus: The use of study drugs here at the University of Toronto remains understudied. Study drugs are stimulant medications typically prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin), or sleep disorders (e.g., Provigil) that are used by individuals without a prescription for the purpose of cognitive enhancement, particularly when studying for exams. This project intends to give a voice to our students with ADHD and/or sleep disorders, who have prescriptions for medications typically used as study drugs. How do these students view the illicit use of their prescriptions by healthy students to obtain “an edge”? Is it disempowering these learners to know that others are using their medications to potentially outperform their peers? Or, are these students aware that study drugs have not been shown reliably to have any cognitive effects in those without a diagnosed need, and therefore are unaffected by their use on campus?

Study Design: A key component of this project is the involvement of undergraduate researchers, who will administer a questionnaire as well as conduct brief interviews with University of Toronto students with the relevant diagnoses and prescriptions.

Impact: The potential impact of this project will be to help inform how to better service our students with disorders commonly treated with prescription stimulants, and ensure they, along with the rest of our students, are better informed about the practical impact of study drugs use.

SoTL Cohort Poster presented at the 2019 Teaching and Learning Symposium