Longitudinal changes in drug use severity and physical health-related quality of life among untreated stimulant users

Tyrone F. Borders, Brenda M. Booth, Russel S. Falck, Carl Leukefeld, Jichuan Wang, Robert G. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether drug use severity is associated with physical health-related quality of life (HRQL) over time. Data are from a longitudinal, multi-state, natural history community study of users of cocaine and/or methamphetamine who were interviewed at 6-month intervals over 2 years with a 79% follow-up participation rate. Physical HRQL was assessed with the physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-8™ Health Survey and drug, alcohol, and psychiatric severity were all assessed with the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). Random coefficient regression analyses were conducted to test for longitudinal associations between the independent variables and SF-8 PCS scores. Reductions in drug use severity over time were accompanied by only minor improvements in SF-8 PCS scores, underscoring the potential long-term harm of illicit drug use on physical health. Greater psychiatric severity was strongly associated with lower SF-8 PCS scores, suggesting that clinical attention to mental health issues could potentially lead to improvements in perceived physical health as well as among stimulant users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-964
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse grant R01 DA15363 to Brenda M. Booth and grant R01 DA14340 to Harvey A. Siegal, who died on December 22, 2004. Robert Carlson is now the principal investigator of R01 DA 14340. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the relevant universities.


  • Cocaine
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Methamphetamine
  • Natural history
  • Rural
  • SF-8

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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