Study says binge drinking, smoking, and illegal drug use may be used to cope with depression and anxiety.
Poor mental health leads to unhealthy behaviors in low-income adults – not the other way around, according to a new study¹ by Dr. Jennifer Walsh and colleagues from the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital in the US. In this study, stress and anxiety predicted subsequent health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking, binge drinking, illegal drug use, unprotected sex and unhealthy diets. One possible explanation for these findings is that health compromising behaviors may be used as coping mechanisms to manage the effects of stress and anxiety. The study is published online in the Springer journal, Translational Behavioral Medicine², and is part of an issue focusing on multiple health behavior change.
Dr. Walsh and her team explored the relationship between health-compromising behaviors and mental health in the context of socioeconomic disadvantage to determine whether mental health problems lead to subsequent unhealthy behaviors, or whether these behaviors lead to mental health problems.
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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education