Depression and Poor Health as Antecedents and Consequences of Cocaine Use

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11 Scopus citations


Two related hypotheses that linked cocaine use to depression and health were examined using latent variable structural models. Data were obtained from 654 individuals in late adolescence and once again four years later during young adulthood. A Self-Selection/Self Medication hypothesis (Hypothesis #1) was examined which predicts that depressive mood predisposes one towards the use of cocaine as a means of self medication against these symptoms. Depressive symptomatology during adolescence did not predict greater cocaine involvement in young adulthood. However, one indicator of adolescent Poor Health, “times felt really ill.” predicted greater “cocaine frequency” in young adulthood. An Illness Consequence hypothesis (Hypothesis #2) was also examined, which postulates that cocaine produces certain psychological and somatic disorders. In particular, the “number of times super high.” on cocaine during adolescence predicted greater Depression, greater impaired motivation, and more health problems in young adulthood. This result suggests that the intensity of cocaine use or cocaine abuse (large amounts of cocaine per episode of use) was a stronger, more dangerous precursor of mental and somatic health problems than was frequent but low intensity cocaine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-186
Number of pages30
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine use. depression
  • adolescents
  • motivation
  • poor health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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