Sense of control and likelihood of prescription drug misuse 10-years later among middle-aged and older adults

Sara E. Miller, Joanna H. Hong, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Sense of control (i.e. one’s beliefs about their ability to influence life circumstances) has been linked to various psychological outcomes. However, it is unknown if sense of control is protective against prescription drug misuse (PDM). The present study sought to evaluate if sense of control is associated with reduced odds of PDM 9 to 10 years later among a sample of middle-aged and older adults. Methods: Data were evaluated from participants (M = 54 years, SD = 10.86; N = 2,108) of the second and third waves of the Midlife in the United States study. Logistic regression models were used to assess whether baseline sense of control (Wave 2) predicted odds of PDM 9 to 10 years later (Wave 3). Results: Findings revealed that greater sense of control at baseline was related to reduced odds of subsequent PDM (OR = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.95), adjusting for baseline PDM, sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, psychological factors, number of prescription medications, and health. When assessing the subscales of sense of control separately, constraints (OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.42), but not mastery (OR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.12), was predictive of odds of subsequent PDM. Further, being female was associated with greater odds of PDM (OR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.09), but did not moderate the association between sense of control and PDM. Conclusions: Sense of control may be a novel and viable target for interventions (e.g. using mobile phone apps) aimed at mitigating prescription drug misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAging and Mental Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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