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Drug Abuse and Life Chances - Do Childhood Conditions Matter? Results from a Swedish Life-Course Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2016 (English)In: Advances in Life Course Research, ISSN 1569-4909, E-ISSN 1879-6974, Vol. 32, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is well known that people whose childhoods are characterized by various types of resource deficiencies are at significantly higher risk than others of developing serious drug-abuse. Having confirmed the existence of this correlation in the study's data set, this study asked whether the different childhood conditions experienced by individuals with serious drug-abuse problems continue to affect their life chances once these problems have become established, or whether the drug abuse appears to produce such radically new life conditions that childhood conditions no longer play a significant role. Analyses were based on the Stockholm Birth Cohort study which includes data on a cohort of individuals (n = 15,117) from birth to middle age, and in addition to measurements of social and economic problems during childhood, the analysis also included a measurement of the family's socio-economic status and a measurement of the individual's own childhood resources in the form of school performance. Drug abuse was measured using an indicator of whether the individual had been admitted for inpatient treatment with a drug-related diagnosis at least once at ages 16–30 (n = 229). On basis of Cox and OLS regression models, the most important conclusion from the study was that heavy drug-abuse seems to involve such a fundamental change to individuals' life situation that variations in childhood conditions lose a substantial amount of their power to explain subsequent life course outcomes. However, the study did find a tendency for SES of family of origin to be related to mortality risk up to age 56, in that those from less privileged homes died to a somewhat higher extent. Individuals from more privileged homes did not manage to recover to a higher extent though, but tended to remain in heavy abuse. The study found no relationship between childhood conditions and recovery from heavy abuse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 32, 1-11 p.
Keyword [en]
Drug abuse, Childhood conditions, Life course, Labor market, Attachment, Mortality
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136646DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2016.11.002OAI: diva2:1055536
Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2016-12-30Bibliographically approved

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Alm, Susanne
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