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Journal of Adolescent Health features Add Health Research from Project Director and Investigators

Longitudinal relationships between binge drinking, marijuana use, and depressive symptoms

 

Add Health Director Kathleen Mullan Harris, Deputy Director Carolyn Halpern, and Principal Investigator Jon Hussey collaborated with other researchers at the Carolina Population Center and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on their recent Journal of Adolescent Health publication.  The authors used Add Health data to evaluate how marijuana use and binge drinking relate to depression from adolescence to young adulthood. These researchers were interested in testing if depressive symptoms made substance use more likely (Self-Medication Model), or if substance use predicted future depressive symptoms (Stress Model).

Depression was measured using nine items from the CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) included in the Add Health survey. Respondents also reported their marijuana use frequency within the past 30 days and their binge drinking frequency within the past 12 months. Researchers looked at each of these variables across three Waves of Add Health: Wave I, III, and IV.

The research team found that both males and females appear to be using marijuana, but not binge drinking, to self-medicate their depression. However, for females, both binge drinking and marijuana use increased risk of future depression, suggesting that the Stress Model may be a better fit for female behaviors. The authors suggest that substance use should be considered in relation to screening for adolescent depression: depressed teens may be at a greater risk of substance use and abuse, while substance-using teens may be more likely to become depressed. 

 

 

View the abstract or download the complete article from the Journal of Adolescent Health

Authors

  • Andra L. Wilkinson: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Carolyn Tucker Halpern: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Amy H. Herring: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Meghan Shanahan: Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Susan T. Ennett: Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Jon M. Hussey: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

Wilkinson et al. Testing Longitudinal Relationships Between Binge Drinking, Marijuana Use, and Depressive Symptoms and Moderation by Sex. Journal of Adolescent Health 2016.