BMC Psychiatry. 2022 Apr 30;22(1):306. doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-03917-z.
BACKGROUND: Mental health problems and substance use co-morbidities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic are a public health priority. Identifying individuals at high-risk of developing mental health problems and potential sequela can inform mitigating strategies. We aimed to identify distinct groups of individuals (i.e., latent classes) based on patterns of self-reported mental health symptoms and investigate their associations with alcohol and cannabis use.
METHODS: We used data from six successive waves of a web-based cross-sectional survey of adults aged 18 years and older living in Canada (6,021 participants). We applied latent class analysis to three domains of self-reported mental health most likely linked to effects of the pandemic: anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Logistic regression was used to characterize latent class membership, estimate the association of class membership with alcohol and cannabis use, and perform sex-based analyses.
RESULTS: We identified two distinct classes: (1) individuals with low scores on all three mental health indicators (no/low-symptoms) and (2) those reporting high scores across the three measures (high-symptoms). Between 73.9 and 77.1% of participants were in the no/low-symptoms class and 22.9-26.1% of participants were in the high-symptom class. We consistently found across all six waves that individuals at greater risk of being in the high-symptom class were more likely to report worrying about getting COVID-19 with adjusted odds ratios (aORs) between 1.72 (95%CI:1.17-2.51) and 3.51 (95%CI:2.20-5.60). Those aged 60 + were less likely to be in this group with aORs (95%CI) between 0.26 (0.15-0.44) and 0.48 (0.29-0.77) across waves. We also found some factors associated with class membership varied at different time points. Individuals in the high-symptom class were more likely to use cannabis at least once a week (aOR = 2.28, 95%CI:1.92-2.70), drink alcohol heavily (aOR = 1.71, 95%CI:1.49-1.96); and increase the use of cannabis (aOR = 3.50, 95%CI:2.80-4.37) and alcohol (aOR = 2.37, 95%CI:2.06-2.74) during the pandemic. Women in the high-symptom class had lower odds of drinking more alcohol during the pandemic than men.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified the determinants of experiencing high anxiety, depression, and loneliness symptoms and found a significant association with alcohol and cannabis consumption. This suggests that initiatives and supports are needed to address mental health and substance use multi-morbidities.
Source: ncbi 2