Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Examining Risk for Frequent Cocaine Use: Focus on an African American Treatment Population

Cocaine use and its consequences are disproportionately higher and more severe among African Americans compared to other ethnic/racial groups.

The aims of this study were to examine a risk model specific for African American users and assess whether risk varies as a function of sex.

270 African American adults in a residential drug treatment facility completed measurements assessing first and past year crack/cocaine use frequency, childhood trauma, and stress reactivity. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the unique effect of each predictor variable on past year crack/cocaine frequency. Sex was included as a moderator variable in the regression analysis.

All predictor variables were positively correlated with past year crack/cocaine use. However, sex differences were also observed: females reported higher rates of childhood emotional abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and stress reactivity-as well as past year crack use and cocaine use-than males. Regression analyses were performed with sex, first year use, and stress reactivity emerging as the only significant predictors for frequency of crack and cocaine use among all study participants. Moreover, sex differences were observed in the influence of first year crack use frequency on past year crack use frequency, such that the effect was stronger for males than for females. Conclusion/Importance: This study offers a clearer understanding of the risk factors for crack and cocaine abuse specific to African Americans, as well as sex specific pathways to risk, providing useful implications for future prevention and treatment efforts.

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