PURPOSE: This study was designed to construct a model which explains drug misuse behaviors in community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: The design of this research is a cross-sectional study using structure equation modeling. The hypothetical model consisted of two types of variables: the exogenous variables of health status, cognitive ability, and negative emotion, and the endogenous variables of number of drugs, and drug misuse behaviors. The data collection was conducted from September 2 to September 21, 2013 through self-report questionnaires. Participants were 320 community-dwelling adults over the age of 65 living in J city. Data were analyzed with SPSS 21.0 program and Amos 18.0 program. RESULTS: The results of the model fitness analysis were satisfied. The predictor variables for the hypothetical model explained 62.3% of variance regarding drug misuse behaviors. Drug misuse behaviors were directly affected by health status, cognitive ability, negative emotion and number of drugs and indirectly affected by health status, and negative emotion through number of drugs. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate factors that should be used in developing effective nursing interventions for safe and proper drug use and the prevention of drug misuse behaviors in community-dwelling older adults.