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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Rutgers: Study Analyzes Relationship Between Tobacco Use and Mental Health in U.S. Adults

A new study from Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies analyzes symptoms of psychiatric disorders in individuals and the differences in demographic characteristics and tobacco use behaviors between classes of individuals based on these symptoms.

The study used latent class analysis to establish classes of U.S. adults based on symptoms of psychiatric disorders and examined the difference in tobacco use behavior between those classes. The classes were divided into symptoms based on internalizing, externalizing, and substance use disorders.

The classes were broken up into “normative,” “high internalizing and non-violent externalizing,” and “severe.” The “severe” class reported high prevalence with all symptoms and the highest tobacco usage. Individuals labeled as “severe” may be at a higher risk for tobacco morbidity and mortality and may benefit from being targeted in tobacco control intervention scenarios, resulting in better health outcomes.

“Findings from this study suggest that symptoms of a broad range of psychiatric disorders should be considered when identifying individuals with higher risk for tobacco use in both research and clinical settings,” said Dr. Ollie Ganz an instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Member of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies. “The use of clinical diagnoses may inadvertently leave out individuals with symptom-specific issues that puts them at higher risk for tobacco use, even if they do not meet the criteria for diagnosis.

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