First Advisor

Melissa Thompson

Date of Publication

Summer 8-14-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Medication abuse, Opioids -- Therapeutic use -- Sex differences, Women -- Drug use -- Social aspects, Men -- Drug use -- Social aspects, Medication abusers -- Social aspects, Social norms.



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 86 pages)


This study examines the effects of gender and social bonds on the experience of prescription painkiller misuse for men and women. The theoretical framework for the project is Travis Hirschi's social control theory (1969), and the social bond elements of attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief, which emphasizes the importance of these bonds in creating a "stake in conformity" for the individual, leading to acceptance of social norms and desistence from deviance. This theory, however, is relatively silent with regard to gender differences and was developed to examine delinquency in an all male sample of adolescents. The elements of this theory were used to further test the effects of these social bonds and add to the literature gap on the gendered experience of the misuse of prescription painkillers.

Data for this project comes from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual nationally representative, cross-sectional survey. Multivariate logistic regression analyses reveal that, being white, not being married, having less than a high school diploma, a having a job are all significant predictors of increased prescription painkiller misuse. Characteristics associated with a significant decrease in the odds of misusing prescription painkillers are being older, having a college degree, and placing importance on religious/spiritual beliefs. Multivariate logistic regression also reveals that female respondents are less likely to misuse prescription painkillers than are their male counterparts. Interaction effects are operationalized to measure the relationship between gender and the social bond elements of interest. Most of the interaction effects are not statistically significant, but some of the main effects remain significant, which indicates that the main effect has little impact on prescription painkiller misuse for women, but remains significant for men (marriage, education, work status). Significant interaction effects are found for gender (female) x income and gender (female) x religiosity, which indicates that for both men and women, increased income and higher levels of religiosity are significantly associated with decreased odds of prescription painkiller misuse, that the effect is stronger for women and that this difference between men and women is significant. These results provide further insight into the experiences of prescription painkiller misuse for men and women.


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