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A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders$
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Karestan C. Koenen, Sasha Rudenstine, Ezra Susser, and Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657018

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657018.001.0001

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Life course approach to substance use

Life course approach to substance use

(p.133) Chapter 11 Life course approach to substance use
A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders

Jennifer Ahern

Hannah H. Leslie

Oxford University Press

The life course approach to substance use has potential to enhance our understanding of the development and persistence of substance use behaviours. The life course approach as applied to substance use is summarized. A critical review is made of published research on the life course of substance use in the areas of timing of substance use onset, early life determinants, trajectories, broader contexts, and historical periods. Notable contributions of this research include: characterization of lifelong patterns of substance use; identification of the broader context as important in shaping early use patterns with an increasing role of biology for the progression to abuse or dependence; and identification of intergenerational and early life effects on substance use patterns. The challenges in the field are assessed with respect to data and measurement and future directions are recommended that include extension of methods and application of the full life-course framework.

Keywords:   substance use, abuse, dependence, life course, early life, trajectory, context, historical period

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