Background: Quality of life (QoL) is an important measure and outcome within chronic disease management and treatment, including substance use disorders (SUD). The aim of this paper was to investigate correlates of poorer QoL of individuals entering SUD treatment in Norway, in order to identify subgroups that may most benefit from different interventions.
Methods: Twenty-one treatment facilities invited all incoming patients to participate. Five hundred forty-nine patients who enrolled between December 2012 and April 2015 are analyzed. QoL, substance use, mental and physical comorbidities, and exercise behaviors were measured. Multinomial regression analysis was used to determine variables significantly associated with poorer QoL.
Results: The majority of both genders (75 %) reported "poor" or "very poor" QoL at intake. Depression showed a strong association with poor QoL (relative risk ratio [RRR] 3.3, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.0-10.3) and very poor QoL (RRR 3.8, 1.2-11.8) among women. Physical inactivity among men was associated with very poor QoL (RRR 2.0, 1.1-3.7), as was reporting eating most meals alone (RRR 2.6, 1.4-4.8). Evaluating one's weight as too low was also associated with poor QoL (RRR 2.0, 1.0-3.9) and very poor QoL (RRR 2.0, 1.1-3.7) among men. Consuming methadone/buprenorphine was a protective factor for men reporting poor QoL (RRR 0.5, 0.3-0.9) and very poor QoL (RRR 0.4, 0.2-0.9), as well as for women reporting very poor QoL (RRR 0.2, 0.0-0.6).
Conclusions: Factors associated with poorer QoL among other healthy and clinical populations, such as impaired social and physical well-being and psychological distress, were also seen associated in this sample. Treatment should be targeted towards patients with these particular vulnerabilities in addition to focusing on substance-related factors, and interventions proven to improve the QoL of other populations with these vulnerabilities should be explored in a SUD context.