Daily Patterns of Substance Use and Violence Among a High-Risk Urban Emerging Adult Sample: Results from the Flint Youth Injury Study

Carter, P. M., Cranford, J. A., Buu, A., Walton, M. A., Zimmerman, M. A., Goldstick, J., Ngo, Q., & Cunningham, R. M. (2020). Daily patterns of substance use and violence among a high-risk urban emerging adult sample: Results from the Flint Youth Injury Study. Addictive behaviors101, 106127. doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106127


Objective: Interpersonal violence is a significant public health problem, with substance use a key risk factor. Intensive longitudinal methods (ILMs) provide data on daily patterns/relationships between substance use and violence, informing prevention. Prior daily research has not focused on these relationships among urban minority samples.

Methods: Within an RCT comparing ILM assessment/schedule methods, 162-participants completed daily IVR (n = 81) or SMS (n = 81) assessments measuring 19 substance use and violence (partner/non-partner) behaviors daily for 90-days. GLMMs characterized between- and within-person predictors of daily violence.

Results: Participants [48.7%-female; age = 24.4; 62.3%-African-American; 66.7%-public assistance] completed an average of 46.5 daily reports [SD = 26.7]. Across 90-days, alcohol was characterized by episodic weekend use (average = 10 days-of-use, 34.4% drinking-days involved binge-drinking), while marijuana use was continuous (average = 27 days-of-use; 1.7 times/day), with no weekend differences. Among 118-violent conflicts, 52.5% occurred on weekends; 57.6% were with non-partners/peers; 61.0% involved perpetration/57.6% victimization; and 52.5% involved severe violence. For violence conflicts, 27.1% were preceded by alcohol/22.9% preceded by drug use. Between-person predictors of daily violence included retaliatory attitudes (AOR = 3.2) and anxiety (AOR = 1.1). Within-person predictors included weekends (AOR = 1.6), binge drinking (AOR = 1.9), non-medical prescription opioid use (AOR = 3.5) and illicit drug use (AOR = 8.1).

Conclusion: Among a high-risk urban minority sample, we found that higher baseline retaliatory attitudes and anxiety, as well as same-day binge drinking, non-medical prescription opioid use, and illicit drug use were associated with daily violence, likely reflecting both pharmacological and socio-contextual factors. Addressing substance use and retaliatory violence with tailored prevention efforts may aid in decreasing negative interpersonal violence outcomes.

Keywords: Daily substance use/violence; Emergency medicine; Intensive longitudinal data; Youth violence.