Alcohol and cannabis abuse/dependence symptoms and life satisfaction in young adulthood

Authors


Nicola R. Swain PhD, Senior Lecturer, Sheree J. Gibb PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, L. John Horwood MSc, Deputy Director, David M. Fergusson PhD, Executive Director. Dr Nic Swain, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand. Tel: +64 3 474 7007 extn 7299; Fax: +64 3 474 7934; E-mail: nicola.swain@otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.To examine the associations between substance abuse/dependence symptoms and life satisfaction, before and after adjustment for fixed and time-dynamic sources of confounding.

Design and Methods.Data were drawn from a 30 year longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 987 individuals. Associations between alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms, cannabis abuse/dependence symptoms and life satisfaction were examined using repeated measures regression models. Associations were adjusted for fixed and time-dynamic sources of confounding, including family background, personality, demographics, recent life events, current employment and recent mental illness.

Results.There were significant associations between alcohol abuse/dependence and life satisfaction (P < 0.0001) and between cannabis abuse/dependence and life satisfaction (P < 0.0001). These significant associations remained after adjustment for fixed sources of confounding. However, adjusting for time-dynamic sources of confounding substantially reduced the associations. After adjustment for time-dynamic sources of confounding there were no significant associations between alcohol abuse/dependence and life satisfaction (P > 0.17) or cannabis abuse/dependence and life satisfaction (P > 0.25).

Discussion and Conclusions.These findings suggest that associations between life substance abuse/dependence and life satisfaction can be explained by time-dynamic factors, such as employment, life events and comorbid mental illness that are associated with reduced life satisfaction. When due allowance is made for confounding, alcohol and cannabis abuse/dependence are not associated with reduced life satisfaction. [Swain NR, Gibb SJ, Horwood LJ, Fergusson DM. Alcohol and cannabis abuse/dependence symptoms and life satisfaction in young adulthood. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:327–333]

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