To investigate changes in social network and quality of life of a substance use disorder cohort as they progressed through treatment.
Multi-site, prospective, observational study of 338 adults entering substance use disorder treatment.
Patients at 21 facilities across Norway contributed baseline data when they initiated treatment, and follow-up data was collected from them one year later.
The cohort was divided into those who completed, dropped out, and remained in treatment one year after treatment initiation. For each treatment status group, general linear models with repeated measures analyzed global and social quality of life with the generic QOL10 instrument over time. The between-group factor was a change in social network variable from the EuropASI.
Those who gained an abstinent network reported the largest quality of life improvements. Improvements were smallest or negligible for the socially isolated and those who were no longer in contact with the treatment system.
Developing an abstinent network is particularly important to improve the quality of life of those in substance use disorder treatment. Social isolation is a risk factor for impaired quality of life throughout the treatment course.
Exercise is increasingly understood as an important resource for people who engage in harmful substance use, including those in prison. Little is known about how inmates adopt various health behaviors during incarceration, without interventions. This cross-sectional study analyzed self-reports from 1464 inmates in Norwegian prisons in 2013?2014, compared them according to harmful substance use pre-incarceration, and explored changes in exercise and nicotine use during incarceration. Results were presented in accordance with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines. Inmates with harmful substance use reported higher rates of smoking, smokeless tobacco, and physical inactivity pre-incarceration than inmates without harmful use. However, inmates with harmful use also exhibited more behavioral changes: they adopted exercise, ceased smoking, and adopted smokeless tobacco at higher rates during incarceration than the non-harmful group, to the extent that inmates with harmful use exercised during incarceration more. Exercise is being taken up by a significant proportion of inmates, and may in particular be a replacement behavior for substance use. However, unhealthy behaviors also begin or are maintained. If prisons were used as an arena to facilitate healthy behaviors, the public health benefits to a marginalized group such as substance-using inmates could be substantial.
Measuring quality of life (QoL) under incarceration can be used to track successful rehabilitation and risk of re-offending. However, few studies have measured QoL among general incarcerated populations, and it is important to use psychometrically strong measures that pose minimal burdens to respondents and administrators. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The aim of this analysis was to explore the utility of a short generic tool measuring overall QoL, the QOL5, in an incarcerated population. The authors drew data from the Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction Study, a cross-sectional survey of 1,499 individuals from Norwegian prisons.
Factor analysis suggested a unidimensional structure that explained 53.2 percent of variance in QoL scores. Intrascale correlations were high and internal consistency was acceptable ( a=0.764). The QOL5 was strongly correlated with mental health, moderately correlated with exercise frequency and weakly correlated with ward security.
The QOL5 is a short measure that presents minimal burden to respondents and administrators. The authors recommend its further use in incarcerated populations to measure overall QoL as well as cross-cultural adaptation and validation in more languages.
In this analysis of the largest published sample to date of incarcerated individuals and their QoL, the QOL5 appears to be an acceptable and valid measure of overall QoL.
We reflect on the experiences of a researcher conducting a pilot exercise project with marginalized research participants within the substance use disorder treatment field, in a language that was nonnative to her. While the project collected and analyzed quantitative data, the researcher was motivated by qualitative inquiry's commitment to reducing participant-researcher distance and power differences. Despite multiple sources of power imbalances favoring the researcher, the ability of participants to speak their native language to a nonnative researcher, and the researcher's active recognition of her linguistic vulnerability, appeared to afford them an unexpected source of power within the context of the project. We discuss the researcher's observations of these power dynamics and their implications for cross-cultural research and when working with marginalized research participants.
Anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use is associated with health problems and substance use. Substance use is common among inmates. This study aims to estimate lifetime and prison use of AAS and other substances, compare characteristics of groups of inmates, and describe factors associated with AAS use in a national prison population.
Data from the Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction (NorMA) Study, a cross-sectional survey of people in prisons, included sociodemographic variables and lifetime and prison use of AAS and other substances. Altogether 1,499 inmates, including 96 (6.4%) women, were divided into three mutually exclusive groups according to lifetime AAS use, non-AAS substance use and no substance use.
Lifetime AAS use was reported by 427 (28.5%) inmates; 6 women and 421 men. Non-AAS substance use was reported by 593 (39.6%) and 479 (31.9%) had never used AAS or non-AAS substances. Compared to the non-AAS substance group, the AAS group reported younger debut ages for nearly all non-AAS substances, higher mean number of non-AAS substances used in their lifetime (8.9, 6.6, p