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Progression of Comorbid Depression and Substance Use among Racially Diverse Adults

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2024
16 pages

This research examined the progression of depression and substance use among racially diverse adults.


The present study examined the effect of general risk factors (family bonding, supervision, involvement, peer delinquency), depression risk factors (caregiver depression), and substance use risk factors (adult family members, sibling, and peer substance use) in early adolescence (~ ages 13–14) on comorbid depression and substance use in later adolescence (~ ages 15–17) and adulthood (~ ages 29–31) and continuity in comorbidity from adolescence to adulthood. General risk factors predicted comorbidity across racial/ethnic groups. Substance specific risk predicted comorbidity among Black and Hispanic individuals, whereas depression specific risk was predictive among White individuals. Adolescent comorbidity predicted comorbidity in adulthood across race. Longitudinal data on 1000 Black (n = 680), Hispanic (n = 170), and White (n = 150) individuals came from the Rochester Youth Development Study. Participants were interviewed 14 times over 17 years beginning in 1988. These findings highlight the importance of substance use intervention for racial and ethnic minoritized individuals and mental health risk factors in Whites. The continuity of comorbidity from adolescence to adulthood highlights the importance of targeting adolescents for intervention to prevent long-term manifestation of this form of comorbidity and its associated consequences. Comorbidity of depression and substance abuse is common and a major public health burden. Studies of this form of comorbidity in racial and ethnic minoritized (REM) populations are minimal and have mixed findings. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: April 1, 2024