Substance-use coping and self-rated health among US middle-aged and older adults

TitleSubstance-use coping and self-rated health among US middle-aged and older adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMauro, PM, Canham, S, Martins, SS, Spira, AP
JournalAddictive Behaviors
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare

The prevalence of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use among US middle-aged and older adults is increasing. A subset of this population uses substances to cope with stress, but the characteristics of these individuals, and the association between substance-use coping and health outcomes remain unclear. We identified correlates of substance-use coping and measured its association with self-rated health in a community-based sample of adults aged 54-99 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). In the 2008 HRS, 1351 participants reported their frequency of prescription/other drug-, alcohol-, and cigarette-use coping with stress and reported self-rated health (excellent/very good, good, or fair/poor); 1201 of these participants also reported self-rated health in 2010. One in six participants frequently used substances to cope. The oldest participants were least likely to engage in frequent alcohol-use coping. Those with elevated depressive symptoms were more likely to frequently engage in cigarette- and prescription/other drug-use coping. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, participants who frequently used cigarettes (compared to participants who infrequently used cigarettes) to cope had 2.7 times (95 CI=1.1-6.7) the odds of poor (vs. excellent) self-rated health. Relative to participants who infrequently used prescription/other drugs to cope, participants who frequently used prescription/other drugs to cope had 2.4 times (95 CI=1.1-5.1) the odds of reporting poor self-rated health. The association between prescription/other drug-use coping in 2008 and self-rated health in 2010 was statistically significant (relative OR=3.5, 95 CI=1.7-7.2). Participants engaging in substance-use coping likely have particular demographic and clinical characteristics. Interventions to reduce substance-use coping may prevent adverse health outcomes.


Export Date: 20 January 2015

Endnote Keywords

Coping/Older adults/Self-rated health/Substance use/Alcohol use/Drug Use/Smoking/stress/health outcomes

Endnote ID


Citation Key8239
PubMed ID25437264
PubMed Central IDPMC4596550