Associations between Longitudinal Patterns of Substance Use and Anxiety and Depression Symptoms among a Sample of Canadian Secondary School Students Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The objective of this study is to examine the longitudinal associations between latent classes of substance use and anxiety and depression scores among youth who use substances. This study uses data from three waves (Wave 1: 2017/18, Wave 2: 2018/19, and Wave 3: 2019/20) of the COMPASS study. Students in grades 9 and 10 who reported substance use at baseline (n = 738) report their substance use (alcohol, cannabis, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes) and anxiety and depression symptoms at each wave. A Repeated Measures Latent Class Analysis (RMLCA) is used to determine substance use classes, and mixed models are used to examine the associations between substance use classes and anxiety and depression. We identify three classes of substance use: (1) occasional alcohol and e-cigarette use, (2) escalating poly-substance use, and (3) consistent poly-substance use. After controlling for relevant covariates, consistent poly-substance use is associated with depression (Female OR: 1.24 [95%CI: 0.46, 2.02]; Male OR 1.13 [95%CI: 0.38, 1.87]) but not anxiety. Escalating poly-substance use is associated with depression among males (OR 0.72 [95%CI: 0.10, 1.33]). These findings should be taken into consideration when creating prevention programming and treatment strategies for adolescents. Substance use programming should be comprehensive, consider multiple substances, and be cognizant of symptoms of mental illness, particularly depression.


  • Williams, Gillian C
  • Patte, Karen A
  • Ferro, Mark
  • Leatherdale, Scott T

publication date

  • October 5, 2021