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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jan 1;134:22-29. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Sep 14.

Real-time tracking of neighborhood surroundings and mood in urban drug misusers: application of a new method to study behavior in its geographical context.

Author information

1
Treatment Section, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch, Intramural Research Program, 251 Bayview Blvd., Suite 200, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.
2
Biomedical Informatics Section, Administrative Management Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 251 Bayview Blvd., Suite 200, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.
3
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, 251 Bayview Blvd., Suite 200, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.
4
Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 111 Market Place, Suite 850, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States.
5
Treatment Section, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch, Intramural Research Program, 251 Bayview Blvd., Suite 200, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States. Electronic address: kpreston@intra.nida.nih.gov.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Maladaptive behaviors may be more fully understood and efficiently prevented by ambulatory tools that assess people's ongoing experience in the context of their environment.

METHODS:

To demonstrate new field-deployable methods for assessing mood and behavior as a function of neighborhood surroundings (geographical momentary assessment; GMA), we collected time-stamped GPS data and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) ratings of mood, stress, and drug craving over 16 weeks at randomly prompted times during the waking hours of opioid-dependent polydrug users receiving methadone maintenance. Locations of EMA entries and participants' travel tracks calculated for the 12 before each EMA entry were mapped. Associations between subjective ratings and objective environmental ratings were evaluated at the whole neighborhood and 12-h track levels.

RESULTS:

Participants (N=27) were compliant with GMA data collection; 3711 randomly prompted EMA entries were matched to specific locations. At the neighborhood level, physical disorder was negatively correlated with negative mood, stress, and heroin and cocaine craving (ps<.0001-.0335); drug activity was negatively correlated with stress, heroin and cocaine craving (ps .0009-.0134). Similar relationships were found for the environments around respondents' tracks in the 12h preceding EMA entries.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results support the feasibility of GMA. The relationships between neighborhood characteristics and participants' reports were counterintuitive and counter-hypothesized, and challenge some assumptions about how ostensibly stressful environments are associated with lived experience and how such environments ultimately impair health. GMA methodology may have applications for development of individual- or neighborhood-level interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Activity space; Behavioral geography; Ecological momentary assessment

PMID:
24332365
PMCID:
PMC3867746
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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