The association between social stressors and drug use/hazardous drinking among former prison inmates

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Jul;47(1):41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Mar 1.


Social stressors are associated with relapse to substance use among people receiving addiction treatment and people with substance use risk behaviors. The relationship between social stressors and drug use/hazardous drinking in former prisoners has not been studied. We interviewed former prisoners at baseline, 1 to 3 weeks post prison release, and follow up, between 2 and 9 months following the baseline interview. Social stressors were characterized by unemployment, homelessness, unstable housing, problems with family, friends, and/or significant others, being single, or major symptoms of depression. Associations between baseline social stressors and follow-up drug use and hazardous drinking were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Problems with family, friends, and/or significant others were associated with reported drug use (AOR 3.01, 95% CI 1.18-7.67) and hazardous drinking (AOR 2.69, 95% CI 1.05-6.87) post release. Further research may determine whether interventions and policies targeting social stressors can reduce relapse among former inmates.

Keywords: Drug use; Former inmates; Former prisoners; Hazardous drinking; Social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / etiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Female
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / psychology
  • Ill-Housed Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Unemployment / psychology
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data