Are There Sex Differences in Comorbidity Between Substance Use & Mental Health in Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Sex Differences in Comorbidity Between Substance Use and Mental Health in Adolescents: Two Sides of the Same Coin.

Background

This study aims to evaluate sex differences in alcohol and cannabis use and mental health disorders (MHD) in adolescents, and to evaluate the predictive role of mental health disorders for alcohol and cannabis use disorders (AUD and CUD respectively).

Method

A sample of 863 adolescents from the general population (53.7% girls, Mage = 16.62, SD = 0.85) completed a computerised battery including questions on substance use frequency, the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Cannabis Problems Questionnaire for Adolescents – Short version, the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index and the DSM-IV-TR criteria for AUD and CUD. Bivariate analyses and binary logistic regressions were performed.

Results

Girls presented significantly more mental health problems and a higher prevalence of comorbidity between SUD and MHD. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms and phobic anxiety indicated a higher risk of AUD, whereas depression and interaction between hostility and obsessive-compulsive disorder indicated a higher risk of CUD.

Conclusions

Comorbidity between SUD and MHD is high among adolescents, and significantly higher among girls.

Reference

Fernandez-Artamendi, S. Martinez-Loredo, V. & Lopez-Nunez, C. (2021) Sex Differences in Comorbidity Between Substance Use and Mental Health in Adolescents: Two Sides of the Same Coin. Psicotherma. 33(1), pp.36-43. doi: 10.7334/psicothema2020.297.

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