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1.
Psychol Med ; : 1-9, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815412

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Young people may have elevated risk for poorer mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, yet longitudinal studies documenting this impact are lacking. This study assessed changes in mental health and help-seeking since COVID-19 restrictions in young Australians, including gender differences. METHODS: Data were drawn from a recent subsample (n = 443; 60% female; Mage = 22.0) of a prospective cohort originally recruited in secondary school to complete annual surveys. The subsample completed an additional COVID-19 survey during COVID-19 restrictions (May-June 2020), which was compared to responses from their latest annual survey (August 2019-March 2020). Mixed effect models with time and gender as the primary predictors were conducted for: (i) scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression 9-item (PHQ-9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) modules assessed before and during COVID-19 restrictions, and (ii) self-reported help-seeking from a health professional in February 2020, and the month preceding May-June 2020. RESULTS: Mean symptom scores increased from before to during COVID-19 restrictions on the PHQ-9 (coefficient: 1.29; 95% CI 0.72-1.86) and GAD-7 (0.78; 95% CI 0.26-1.31), but there was no increase in help-seeking over time (odds ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.19-1.32). There was no evidence of differential changes by gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study found increases in depression and anxiety symptoms but not greater help-seeking among young Australian adults during the first wave of the pandemic. Increasing availability and awareness of accessible treatment options and psychoeducation is critical, as well as further research into risk and protective factors to help target treatment to this vulnerable age group.

2.
Addiction ; 117(1):182-194, 2022.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1717372

ABSTRACT

Aims: To describe (i) self-reported changes in drug use and (ii) trends in price, perceived availability, and perceived purity of illicit drugs, among people who regularly use ecstasy/ 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and other illicit stimulants in Australia following COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Design: Annual interviews with cross-sectional sentinel samples conducted face-to-face in 2016-19 and via video conferencing or telephone in 2020. Data were collected via an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire. Setting: Australian capital cities. Participants: Australians aged 16 years or older who used ecstasy/MDMA and other illicit stimulants on a monthly or more frequent basis and resided in a capital city, recruited via social media and word-of-mouth (n ~ 800 each year). Measurements: Key outcome measures were self-reported illicit drug market indicators (price, purity and availability) and, in 2020 only, perceived change in drug use (including alcohol and tobacco) since March 2020 and reasons for this change. Findings: For most drugs, participants reported either no change or a reduction in their use since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. Ecstasy/MDMA was the drug most frequently cited as reduced in use (n = 552, 70% of those reporting recent use), mainly due to reduced opportunities for socialization. While market indicators were largely stable across most drugs, the odds of perceiving MDMA capsules as 'high' in purity decreased compared with 2016-19 [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.53-0.99], as did perceiving them as 'easy' to obtain (aOR = 0.42, CI = 0.26-0.67). The odds of perceiving cocaine and methamphetamine crystal as 'easy' to obtain also decreased (aOR = 0.67, CI = 0.46-0.96 and aOR = 0.12, CI = 0.04-0.41, respectively). Conclusions: After COVID-19-related restrictions were introduced in Australia, use of ecstasy/MDMA, related stimulants and other licit and illicit drugs mainly appeared to remain stable or decrease, primarily due to impediments to socialization. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

3.
Addiction ; 116(12): 3398-3407, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503763

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To estimate change in young people's alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions in Australia in early-mid 2020, and test whether those changes were consistent by gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort. SETTING: Secondary schools in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Subsample of a cohort (n = 443) recruited in the first year of secondary school in 2010-11. Analysis data included three waves collected in September 2017-July 2018, September 2018-May 2019 and August 2019-January 2020), and in May-June 2020. MEASUREMENTS: The primary predictors were time, gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. Outcome variables, analysed by mixed-effects models, included frequency and typical quantity of alcohol consumption, binge drinking, peak consumption, alcohol-related harm and drinking contexts. FINDINGS: Overall consumption (frequency × quantity) during the restrictions declined by 17% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73, 0.95] compared to February 2020, and there was a 35% decline in the rate of alcohol-related harms in the same period (IRR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.79). Changes in alcohol consumption were largely consistent by gender. CONCLUSIONS: From a survey of secondary school students in Australia, there is evidence for a reduction in overall consumption and related harms during the COVID-19 restrictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Addiction ; 116(12): 3398-3407, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262304

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To estimate change in young people's alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions in Australia in early-mid 2020, and test whether those changes were consistent by gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort. SETTING: Secondary schools in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Subsample of a cohort (n = 443) recruited in the first year of secondary school in 2010-11. Analysis data included three waves collected in September 2017-July 2018, September 2018-May 2019 and August 2019-January 2020), and in May-June 2020. MEASUREMENTS: The primary predictors were time, gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. Outcome variables, analysed by mixed-effects models, included frequency and typical quantity of alcohol consumption, binge drinking, peak consumption, alcohol-related harm and drinking contexts. FINDINGS: Overall consumption (frequency × quantity) during the restrictions declined by 17% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73, 0.95] compared to February 2020, and there was a 35% decline in the rate of alcohol-related harms in the same period (IRR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.79). Changes in alcohol consumption were largely consistent by gender. CONCLUSIONS: From a survey of secondary school students in Australia, there is evidence for a reduction in overall consumption and related harms during the COVID-19 restrictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Psychol Med ; : 1-9, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221096

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Young people may have elevated risk for poorer mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, yet longitudinal studies documenting this impact are lacking. This study assessed changes in mental health and help-seeking since COVID-19 restrictions in young Australians, including gender differences. METHODS: Data were drawn from a recent subsample (n = 443; 60% female; Mage = 22.0) of a prospective cohort originally recruited in secondary school to complete annual surveys. The subsample completed an additional COVID-19 survey during COVID-19 restrictions (May-June 2020), which was compared to responses from their latest annual survey (August 2019-March 2020). Mixed effect models with time and gender as the primary predictors were conducted for: (i) scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression 9-item (PHQ-9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) modules assessed before and during COVID-19 restrictions, and (ii) self-reported help-seeking from a health professional in February 2020, and the month preceding May-June 2020. RESULTS: Mean symptom scores increased from before to during COVID-19 restrictions on the PHQ-9 (coefficient: 1.29; 95% CI 0.72-1.86) and GAD-7 (0.78; 95% CI 0.26-1.31), but there was no increase in help-seeking over time (odds ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.19-1.32). There was no evidence of differential changes by gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study found increases in depression and anxiety symptoms but not greater help-seeking among young Australian adults during the first wave of the pandemic. Increasing availability and awareness of accessible treatment options and psychoeducation is critical, as well as further research into risk and protective factors to help target treatment to this vulnerable age group.

6.
Drug Alcohol Rev ; 39(5): 441-446, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-681748

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: The Australian Treatment Outcomes Profile (ATOP) is a brief clinical tool measuring recent substance use, health and wellbeing among clients attending alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services. It has previously been assessed for concurrent validity and inter-rater reliability. In this study we examine whether it is suitable for administration over the telephone. DESIGN AND METHODS: We recruited a sample of 107 AOD clients across public sector specialist AOD treatment services in New South Wales, Australia between 2016 and 2018. Participants had a mean age of 47 years and 46% were female. Participants completed a face-to-face ATOP and a phone ATOP with a researcher within 5 days. Comparisons between the two administration modes were undertaken using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient for continuous or ordinal variables, and Cohen's Kappa for nominal variables. RESULTS: Among 107 participants, 59% were attending for alcohol treatment and 41% for opioid treatment. Most ATOP items (76%) reached above 0.7 (good) or 0.9 (excellent) agreement between face-to-face and telephone use. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the ATOP is a suitable instrument for telephone monitoring of recent substance use, health and social functioning among AOD clients. Its validation for remote use over the telephone will support staff to monitor clients' risks and outcomes-of particular relevance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in which services are increasingly relying on telework approaches to client monitoring.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers/methods , Substance-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Telephone , Adult , Alcoholism/rehabilitation , Australia , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , New South Wales , Pandemics , Reproducibility of Results , Surveys and Questionnaires , Treatment Outcome
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