Research News Roundup: October 28, 2021

    Do High School Friends still Matter for Health Behavior in Adulthood? Variations in Smoking Trajectories by Adolescent Peer Smoking Networks, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender

    Journal: SSM – Population Health, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100925.

    Author: Kaitlin Shartle


    Peers play an influential role in the initiation of smoking during adolescence. However, there has been limited literature examining whether adolescent peers are associated with longer-term patterns of smoking. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine whether age-based trajectories of smoking likelihood from adolescence to adulthood are associated with the number of adolescent friends who smoked and how this association differs by race/ethnicity and gender. Findings using multilevel growth curve models indicate that individuals who have more adolescent friends who smoked have higher probabilities of smoking during adolescence than those with no adolescent smoking friends. As individuals age into adulthood, the association between adolescent friends’ smoking behavior and individual-level smoking begin to dissipate but does not completely disappear. Further analyses show that there are no differences in this association by gender, but there are differences by race/ethnicity. These findings suggest that high school friends continue to be associated with trajectories of smoking even twenty years after high school. These results indicate that anti-smoking campaigns should take a network approach to preventing smoking in adolescence as well as recognize that the same campaign strategy may not work for all groups.

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    Journal: Preventive Medicine, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106829.

    Authors: Juhan Lee & Johannes Thrul


    Increasing rates of opioid-related emergency department visits and deaths among adolescents in the United States are a public health concern. Adolescent cigarette smoking may be a risk factor for opioid misuse; though, there is a paucity of research on adolescents’ cigarette smoking and opioid misuse. This study investigates current trends and the association between cigarette smoking and opioid misuse among US adolescents. Using pooled youth samples (ages 12–17) from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2015–2018 (N = 54,866), we calculated weighted estimates of past-year opioid misuse by cigarette smoking status across years. We further estimated a multivariable logistic regression model to examine the past-year opioid misuse by ever-cigarette-smoking, controlling for sociodemographics and other substance use. While there was a significant reduction in opioid misuse among the entire sample and among never-smokers over time (2.5% in 2015 to 1.9% in 2018), this trend was not significant among ever-smokers (14.2% in 2015 to 11.1% in 2018). Multivariable logistic regression showed ever-smokers (vs. never-smokers) had higher odds of past-year opioid misuse (aOR = 2.01; 95% CI = 1.66, 2.43). Findings suggest that comprehensive tobacco control policies and opioid misuse prevention programs are warranted to curb opioid misuse among adolescents.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Differences in COVID-19 Screening, Diagnosis, and Hospitalization Rates among US Pregnant Women with and without a Substance Use Disorder

    Journal: AJOG: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2021.06.004

    Authors: Yitong (Alice) Gao, Marian P. Jarlenski, Qingwen Chen & Elizabeth E. Krans


    Pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe morbidity and mortality due to respiratory infections like SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) during pregnancy.1 Those with substance use disorders (SUDs) may be especially vulnerable due to high rates of smoked tobacco, cannabis, and methamphetamine use which adversely affect pulmonary function.2 However, little is known about the differential effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women with and without SUD. Results showed that among 65,009 pregnancies, 2616 (4.0%) had ≥1 SUD diagnosis. Almost half of the pregnant women in the cohort were non-Hispanic White. Pregnant women with an SUD diagnosis were significantly more likely to be younger (30±6 vs 32±5; P<.05). Women without an SUD diagnosis were significantly more likely to be screened for COVID-19 during pregnancy (27% vs 24%; P<.001) than those with an SUD. Overall, 3.4% of pregnant women were diagnosed as having COVID-19, mostly (86%) in the third trimester. The prevalence of a COVID-19 diagnosis was higher among those with an SUD than those without an SUD (5% vs 3%; P<.05). Furthermore, there was a higher percentage of COVID-19–related hospitalizations among pregnant women with an SUD (36%) than those without an SUD (8%) (P<.001). The median length of stay was 1 day longer among those with an SUD (3 vs 2 days; P<.01) than those without an SUD. There were no COVID-19–related deaths reported during pregnancy or postpartum.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Association between Solitary Drinking and Alcohol Problems in Adults

    Journal: Addiction, 2021, doi: 10.1111/add.15355

    Authors: Carillon J. Skrzynski & Kasey G. Creswell


    Background and aims: Solitary drinking in adolescents and young adults is associated with greater risk for alcohol problems, but it is unclear whether this association exists in older demographics. The current paper is the first meta-analysis and systematic review, to our knowledge, to determine whether adult solitary drinking is associated with greater risk for alcohol problems.

    Methods: PsychINFO, PubMed and Google Scholar were searched following a pre-registered International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) protocol (CRD42019147075) and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) methodology. Following the methodology used in our recent systematic review and meta-analysis on adolescent/young adult solitary drinking, we systematically reviewed solitary drinking measures/definitions, prevalence rates and associated demographic variables in adults. We then meta-analyzed (using random-effects models) associations between adult solitary drinking and alcohol use/problems, negative affect and negative/positive reinforcement-related variables (e.g. drinking to cope or for enhancement).

    Results: Solitary drinking was defined as drinking while physically alone in nearly all studies, but measures varied. Prevalence rates were generally in the 30–40% range, with some exceptions. In general, males were more likely than females to report drinking alone, and married individuals were less likely than unmarried individuals to report drinking alone; racial/ethnic differences were mixed. Meta-analytical results showed significant effects for the associations between solitary drinking and the following factors: alcohol consumption, r = 0.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.18, 0.33, k = 15, I2 = 97.41; drinking problems, r = 0.15, 95% CI = 0.10, 0.21, k = 14, I2 = 92.70; and negative reinforcement, r = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.14, 0.32, k = 11, I2 = 89.77; but not positive reinforcement, r = 0.02, 95% CI = 0.06, 0.09, k = 8, I2 = 76.18; or negative affect, r = 0.03, 95% CI = −0.02, 0.08, k = 8, I2 = 52.06. Study quality moderated the association between solitary drinking and negative affect (β = −0.07, P < 0.01) such that lower-quality studies were significantly associated with larger effect sizes. Study quality was generally low; the majority of studies were cross-sectional.

    Conclusions: Solitary drinking appears to have a small positive association with alcohol problems.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Racial and Ethnic Differences in Cannabis Use Following Legalization in US States with Medical Cannabis Laws

    Journal: JAMA Netw Open, 2021, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27002

    Authors: Silvia S. Martins, Luis E. Segura, MD, Natalie S. Levy, Pia M. Mauro, Christine M. Mauro, Morgan M. Philbin & Deborah S. Hasin


    Importance: Little is known about changes in cannabis use outcomes by race and ethnicity following the enactment of recreational cannabis laws (RCLs).

    Objectives: To examine the association between enactment of state RCLs and changes in cannabis outcomes by race and ethnicity overall and by age groups in the US.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used restricted use file data from the National Surveys of Drug Use and Health between 2008 and 2017, which were analyzed between September 2019 and March 2020. National survey data included the entire US population older than 12 years.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Self-reported past-year and past-month cannabis use and, among people that used cannabis, daily past-month cannabis use and past-year Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) cannabis use disorder. Multi-level logistic regressions were fit to estimates changes in cannabis use outcomes by race and ethnicity overall and by age between respondents in states with and without enacted RCLs, controlling for trends in states with medical cannabis laws or no cannabis laws.

    Results: A total of 838 600 participants were included for analysis (mean age, 43 years [range, 12-105 years]; 434 900 women [weighted percentage, 51.5%]; 511 900 participants (weighted percentage, 64.6%) identified as non-Hispanic White, 99 000 (11.9%) as non-Hispanic Black, 78 400 (15.8%) as Hispanic, and 149 200 (7.6%) as other (including either Native American, Pacific Islander, Asian, or more than 1 race or ethnicity). Compared with the period before RCL enactment, the odds of past-year cannabis use after RCL enactment increased among Hispanic (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.15-1.52), other (aOR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.12-1.52), and non-Hispanic White (aOR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.12-1.31) populations, particularly among those aged 21 years or more. Similarly, the odds of past-month cannabis use increased among Hispanic (aOR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.22-1.69), other (aOR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.20-1.70), and non-Hispanic White (aOR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.13-1.35) populations after RCL enactment. No increases were found in the odds of past-year or past-month cannabis use post-RCL enactment among non-Hispanic Black individuals or among individuals aged 12 to 20 years for all race and ethnicity groups. In addition, among people who used cannabis, while no increases were found in past-month daily cannabis in any racial or ethnic group, the odds of cannabis use disorder increased post-RCL among individuals categorized as other overall (aOR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.07-1.95), but no increases were found by age group.

    Conclusions and Relevance: Changes in cannabis use by race and ethnicity that may be attributable to policy enactment and variations in recreational policy provisions should be monitored. To ensure that the enactment of recreational cannabis laws truly contributes to greater equity in outcomes and adheres to antiracist policies, monitoring unintended and intended consequences that may be attributable to recreational cannabis use and similar policies by race and ethnicity is needed.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    October 2021