Childhood social capital and drug use disorder in adulthood: A retrospective study on antecedent determinants of the type of drug use

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Abstract

Based on a sample of Danish adults who were enroled in treatment for drug use disorders as a prerequisite for qualifying for receiving unemployment benefits, we analyse the relationship between low social capital in childhood (LSCC) and the type of drug use in adulthood. The type of drug use is measured by distinguishing between those who were treated for using hard drugs (e.g., heroin and cocaine) and those who were treated for using soft drugs (cannabis). Extracting data from the initial treatment registration report, social capital is operationalised into seven different LSCC categories, and the total number of LSCC (the LSCC score) is recorded. Based on logistic regressions, the LSCC score shows a strong graded dose-response relationship with hard drug use. With each additional LSCC, the probability of being treated for hard drug use increases with 9%. Parental child abuse is the most important single predictor of being treated for hard drug use. Having been parentally abused as a child raises the probability by 32%. The results hold after controlling for age, initiation age, and number of years of drug use, all of which show a significant reversed U-shaped relationship with hard drug use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Volume45
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1673-1690
ISSN0141-9889
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Social capital
  • drug use disorder in adulthood
  • Childhood abuse
  • Drug use disorder in adulthood
  • Hard drugs
  • Denmark
  • Childhood social capital
  • Soft drugs

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