U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Substance Use Motives in People With Severe Mental Illness: Comparisons Among Four Diagnostic Groups

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions Volume: 12 Issue: 4 Dated: October - December 2012 Pages: 370-390
Thomas O'Hare, Ph.D.; Margaret Sherrer, Ph.D.
Date Published
December 2012
21 pages
This study examined comparisons of substance use by people with severe mental illness.
Research has consistently shown that alcohol consumption motivated by a desire to alleviate negative emotional states predicts alcohol use and relapse among clients with co-occurring psychiatric disorders. However, studies examining the role of drinking motives in people with severe mental illness are few. This study of 283 community mental health clients (43.8 percent men, 55.1 percent women), assigned a primary Axis I diagnosis of schizophrenia (28.3 percent), schizoaffective (23.3 percent), major depression (31.1 percent), or bipolar I disorder (17.3 percent), tested the hypothesis that clients with a diagnosis of mood disorder would report greater substance use, would indicate more problems associated with substance use, and would be more likely to use substances to cope with negative emotions than would clients with schizophrenia. In addition, coping motives would account for more variance in substance use and related problems than would convivial drinking when controlling for age, gender, and Axis I diagnosis. Results largely supported these hypotheses with some exceptions. Implications for theory, research, and practice with comorbid clients are suggested. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.