Research Reports - Substance use among adolescents with and without traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 Dec 2

Ilie G(1), Mann RE, Hamilton H, Adlaf EM, Boak A, Asbridge M, Rehm J, Cusimano MD

OBJECTIVE:: The relationship between self-reported lifetime traumatic brain
injury (TBI) and drug and alcohol use and associated harms was examined using an
epidemiological sample of Canadian adolescents.
SETTINGS AND DESIGN:: Data were derived from a 2011 population-based
cross-sectional school survey, which included 6383 Ontario 9th-12th graders who
self-completed anonymous self-administered questionnaires in classrooms.
Traumatic brain injury was defined as loss of consciousness for at least 5
minutes or a minimum 1-night hospital stay due to symptoms.
RESULTS:: Relative to high schoolers without a history of TBI, those who
acknowledged having a TBI in their lifetime had odds 2 times greater for binge
drinking (5+ drinks per occasion in the past 4 weeks), 2.5 times greater for
daily cigarette smoking, 2.9 times greater for nonmedical use of prescription
drugs, and 2.7 times greater for consuming illegal drug in the past 12 months.
Adolescents with a history of TBI had greater odds for experiencing
hazardous/harmful drinking (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.3), cannabis problems
(aOR = 2.4), and drug problems (aOR = 2.1), compared with adolescents who were
never injured.
CONCLUSION:: There are strong and demographically stable associations between TBI
and substance use. These associations may not only increase the odds of injury
but impair the quality of postinjury recovery.

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