Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jessica Brooks

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


Introduction: Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. It is deemed socially acceptable and is associated with many benefits; however, some research suggests that caffeine can cause significant impairments in functioning if consumed in excess. Caffeine-related disorders are now included in the Substance Use Disorders section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), though not much is known about the negative effects of caffeine, as substance abuse theories and coping models have not been applied to caffeine. Purpose: This study seeks to provide knowledge about the abuse of caffeine and to explore any similar properties it shares with illicit substance abuse disorders, specifically, if it is used as a coping mechanism in the same way other drugs are used. Additionally, the study seeks to determine whether specific facets of impulsivity lead to increased caffeine use. Method: 180 undergraduate student participants anonymously completed the questionnaires online using Qualtrics software. Demographic information was gathered along with measures of caffeine intake, effects of caffeine intake, coping behaviors, psychological mood symptoms, impulsivity, and negative consequences of caffeine use. Results: Overall caffeine consumption was significantly and positively correlated with the total amount of negative consequences and negative physiological and psychological effects. No significant results were found between caffeine use and reports of anxiety, depression, stress, or coping strategies. No facets of impulsivity were found to be correlated with or predictive of caffeine use. No difference was found between non-rural and rural participants’ caffeine consumption. Significance: Gaining knowledge about caffeine disorders can have significant implications on diagnosis and treatment and will be beneficial to gain more understanding of those at risk for caffeine-related disorders.

Research Data and Supplementary Material