The Prevalence and Correlates of Depressive Symptomatology Among a Community Sample of Crack-Cocaine Smokers

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Depression has been identified as a disorder of clinical significance among cocaine users. Even so, its prevalence in cocaine-abusing populations is uncertain. This research employed a cross-sectional design to determine the prevalence of current depressive symptomatology among a sample of 430 not-in-treatment crack-cocaine users. Depression was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The mean BDI score was 19.1. Overall, 80% of the sample had BDI scores that suggested more than minimal depression, and 55% had symptoms of moderate to severe depression. The results of a cumulative logistic regression analysis showed that men, African-Americans, and individuals with some college education were less likely to be depressed. Individuals with higher Addiction Severity Index composite scores for family/social, medical, legal, and alcohol problems had a greater likelihood of reporting symptoms of depression. Frequency of cocaine use and perceived need for treatment were also positively associated with higher BDI scores. The results suggest that the prevalence of depression among crack users is higher than has been previously reported. Treatment programs should routinely screen crack-cocaine users for depression. The BDI may be a suitable tool for such efforts since it has an acceptable level of internal consistency when employed with crack users (a = 0.89).



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