The long-term effects of childhood maltreatment experiences on subsequent illicit drug use and drug-related problems in young adulthood

Shi Huang, Edward Trapido, Lora Fleming, Kristopher Arheart, Lee Crandall, Michael French, Shandey Malcolm, Guillermo Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the associations between (a) childhood maltreatment (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect) and subsequent illicit drug use and (b) childhood maltreatment and drug-related problems in young adulthood. Methods: Wave 1 and Wave 3 public-use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used. Logistic regressions, controlling for adolescent drug use and other important family and peer contextual processes, were estimated to determine the associations between (a) childhood maltreatment experiences and subsequent illicit drug use and (b) childhood maltreatment and drug-related problems in young adulthood. Results: Among the participants, 31.9% reported some form of childhood maltreatment. Childhood physical abuse was associated with a 37% (OR = 1.37; 95% CI = 1.04, 1.80) increase in illicit drug use during the 30 days prior to the Wave 3 survey, a 48% (OR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.16, 1.89) increase in illicit drug use during the year prior to the Wave 3 survey, and a 96% (OR = 1.96; 95% CI = 1.40, 2.76) increase in drug-related problems in young adulthood. The latter two associations persisted even after controlling for illicit drug use in adolescence. Neglect among females was associated with a higher likelihood of past year illicit drug use in young adulthood (OR = 1.31; 95% CI = 1.002, 1.71). However, this association was not significant once the effect of illicit drug use in adolescence was statistically controlled for. Conclusions: The present findings suggest that childhood maltreatment is related to subsequent illicit drug use and drug-related problems in young adulthood and that some of these associations differ by gender. Implications for preventive intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume36
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Add Health study
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Drug-related problems
  • Illicit drug use
  • Young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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