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Am J Public Health. 2001 May;91(5):761-6.

Depression and substance use in minority middle-school students.

Author information

  • 1University of Texas-Houston, School of Public Health, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, 7000 Fannin St, Suite 2622, Houston, TX 77030, USA. kelder@sph.uth.tmc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study investigated the association between depression and substance use in a sample of middle-school students.

METHODS:

The 5721 students (59%-63% Hispanic) completed self-report items on depressive symptoms, recent smoking and binge drinking, and lifetime use of marijuana, cocaine, and inhalants.

RESULTS:

Symptoms of depression were strongly and positively related to substance use. For every type of use, a stepwise increase was seen between the percentage of students with low symptom frequency and the percentage of students with more symptoms. A sizable number of users reported symptoms indicating major depression. Depression scores showed few clinically meaningful differences among demographic subgroups. Substance use scores, in contrast, showed meaningful intergroup differences for racial/ethnic group and other demographic variables.

CONCLUSIONS:

Depressive symptoms and substance use were associated in a sample of middle-school students who were largely non-White and predominantly Hispanic. Greater understanding of the nature of this association is needed; this understanding should be used to design prevention programs, and prevention programs should be introduced at least in the middle-school years.

PMID:
11344884
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1446668
Free PMC Article
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