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BMJ Med ; 2(1): e000399, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2325941


Medical and population health science researchers frequently make ambiguous statements about whether they believe their study sample or results are representative of some (implicit or explicit) target population. This article provides a comprehensive definition of representativeness, with the goal of capturing the different ways in which a study can be representative of a target population. It is proposed that a study is representative if the estimate obtained in the study sample is generalisable to the target population (owing to representative sampling, estimation of stratum specific effects, or quantitative methods to generalise or transport estimates) or the interpretation of the results is generalisable to the target population (based on fundamental scientific premises and substantive background knowledge). This definition is explored in the context of four covid-19 studies, ranging from laboratory science to descriptive epidemiology. All statements regarding representativeness should make clear the way in which the study results generalise, the target population the results are being generalised to, and the assumptions that must hold for that generalisation to be scientifically or statistically justifiable.

Drug Alcohol Depend ; 244: 109802, 2023 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2234219


BACKGROUND: There are limited data on whether modifiable social factors foster psychological resilience and mental well-being among people who use drugs following Big Events. We examined the temporal association of pre-pandemic perceived social support with psychological resilience and negative mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic among people with a history of injection drug use. METHODS: Between June and September 2020, we conducted a telephone survey among 545 participants in the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience (ALIVE) study: a community-based cohort of adults with a history of injection drug use. Leveraging data from study visits in 2018-early 2020, associations of pre-pandemic perceived social support with psychological resilience scores (range=1-5) and the probability of negative mental health symptoms during the pandemic were assessed using multivariable linear and modified Poisson regression models, respectively. RESULTS: Participants' median age was 58 years, 38.2% were female, 83.3% identified as Black, and 30.3% were living with HIV. During the pandemic, 14.5% had low (<3) resilience scores, 36.1% experienced anxiety, and 35.8% reported increased loneliness. Compared to participants in the lowest tertile of pre-pandemic social support, participants in the highest tertile had higher mean resilience scores (ß = 0.27 [95% CI = 0.12, 0.43]), a lower probability of anxiety (prevalence ratio [PR] = 0.71 [95% CI = 0.52, 0.96]), and a lower probability of increased loneliness (PR = 0.62 [95% CI = 0.45, 0.84]). CONCLUSIONS: Pre-pandemic perceived social support was associated with greater psychological resilience and generally better mental well-being during the pandemic. Interventions that improve social support may foster psychological resilience and protect the mental well-being of people who use drugs, especially during periods of social disruption.

COVID-19 , Resilience, Psychological , Adult , Humans , Female , Middle Aged , Male , Mental Health , Pandemics , Social Support , Depression/psychology
Int J Drug Policy ; 109: 103842, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1996114


BACKGROUND: In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose deaths increased. However, no studies have characterized changes in mortality during the pandemic in a well-characterized cohort of people who use drugs in active follow-up at the time of pandemic onset. DESIGN: We compared all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the first year of the pandemic (Mar-Dec 2020) to the five years preceding (Jan 2015-Feb 2020), among participants in the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience (ALIVE) study: a community-recruited cohort of adults from Baltimore who have injected drugs. 3510 participants contributed 17,498 person-years [py] of follow-up time. Cause and dates of death were ascertained through the National Death Index. Comparisons were made for the full cohort and within subgroups with potentially differential levels of vulnerability. RESULTS: All-cause mortality in 2020 was 39.6 per 1000 py, as compared to 37.2 per 1000 py pre- pandemic (Adjusted Incidence Rate Ratio = 1.09, 95%: confidence interval: 0.84-1.41). Increases were mostly attributable to chronic disease deaths; injury/poisoning deaths did not increase. No pre-post differences were statistically significant. CONCLUSION: In this exploratory analysis of an older cohort of urban-dwelling adults who have injected drugs, mortality changes during the first year of the pandemic differed from national trends and varied across potentially vulnerable subgroups. More research is needed to understand determinants of increased risk of mortality during the pandemic among subgroups of people who use drugs.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Aged , Cause of Death , Baltimore/epidemiology , Risk Factors