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

Authors

  • NICOLA R. SWAIN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
      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
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  • SHEREE J. GIBB,

    1. Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • L. JOHN HORWOOD,

    1. Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • DAVID M. FERGUSSON

    1. Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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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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