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Examining the Utility of a General Substance Use Spectrum Using Latent Trait Modeling.

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Apr 25;:107998

Authors: Bailey AJ, Finn PR

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Polysubstance use (PSU; lifetime use of multiple substances) is common among individuals with problematic alcohol/substance use and is associated with poor prognosis and poor physical/mental health. Furthermore, simultaneous co-use of substances, such that drug effects overlap, is also common and related to unique risks (e.g. overdose). Despite the importance of PSU, current diagnostic systems continue to conceptualize problems with alcohol/substances as class-specific constructs (e.g. Stimulant Use Disorder), which essentially ignore many unique PSU processes.
METHODS: The current study modeled problems with alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, opiates, and simultaneous co-use of these substances as a manifestation of a general substance use continuum versus as correlated class-specific constructs in a sample of young-adults(n = 2482) using confirmatory factor analysis. Utility of the models was evaluated by examining associations between the general substance use spectrum and class-specific latent factors with measures of anxiety, ADHD, adult antisocial problems, borderline symptoms, neuroticism, and intelligence in a subset of the sample(n=847).
RESULTS: Findings supported the conceptualization of problems with all substances, including co-use of substances, as being manifestations of a general substance use spectrum, as class-specific constructs were not differentially associated with other measures of psychological dysfunction. Examination of this general substance use spectrum indicated that all substances, separately and co-use, were robustly informative of this spectrum, but tended to discriminate between different severity levels.
DISCUSSION: The general substance use spectrum allows for integration of information from the use and co-use of all substances to provide better assessment of overall problems with substances compared to class-specific constructs.

PMID: 32362437 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]


Source: ncbi 2

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