Childhood Adverse Events and Health Outcomes Among Methamphetamine-Dependent Men and Women

  • Nena P. MessinaEmail author
  • Patricia Marinelli-Casey
  • Maureen Hillhouse
  • Alfonso Ang
  • Jeremy Hunter
  • Richard Rawson


To describe the prevalence of childhood adverse events (CAEs) among methamphetamine-dependent men and women, and assess the relationship of cumulative CAEs to health problems. Data for 236 men and 351 women were analyzed assessing CAEs. Dependent variables included 14 self-reported health problems or psychiatric symptom domains. Mental health was assessed via the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Medical conditions were collected using the Health Status Survey. Women reported more cumulative exposure to CAEs than men (28% vs. 13%, p < 0.01). Regressions showed the impact of CAEs on health is strong for both men and women. Yet, women were more likely than men to have 7 out of 14 health problems, independent of their reported abuse (ranging from a positive OR for suicidality = 1.63 to a positive OR for bladder/bowel disease = 6.09). Substance abuse treatment programs should prioritize individual treatment plans and enhance multi-agency collaborations to provide referrals and community networks that offer clients appropriate trauma-based psychiatric and/or medical treatment.


Childhood abuse and household dysfunction Gender Methamphetamine Mental health Physical health 



We would like to give a special thanks to the many treatment, research, and statistical staff who helped collect and analyze data, as well as to those who volunteered to be in the study.

Funding Source

This study was supported by Grants TI 11440-01, TI 11427-01, TI 11425-01, TI 11443-01, TI 11484-01, TI 11441-01, TI 11410-01, and TI 11411-01 provided by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services. The findings and conclusions of this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policies of the funding agencies.


  1. Anda, R., Whitfield, C., Felitti, V., Chapman, D., Edwards, V., Dube, S., et al. (2002). Adverse childhood experiences, alcoholic parents, and later risk of alcoholism and depression. Psychiatric Services, 53(8), 1001–1009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloom, B., Owen, B., & Covington, S. (2004). Women offenders and gendered effects of public policy. Review of Policy Research, 21(1), 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brecht, M. L., O’Brien, A., von Mayrhauser, C., & Anglin, M. D. (2004). Methamphetamine use behaviors and gender differences. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 89–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (2007). Methamphetamine treatment: A practitioner’s reference. Accessed 1 March, 2007.
  5. Chou, C., Hser, Y., & Anglin, M. D. (1996). Pattern reliability of narcotics addicts’ self-reported data: A confirmatory assessment of construct validity and consistency. Substance Use and Misuse, 31(9), 1189–1216.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (2005). Child maltreatment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 409–438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen, M., Deamant, C., Barkan, S., Richardson, J., Young, M., Holman, S., et al. (2000). Domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse in HIV-infected women and women at risk for HIV. American Journal of Public Health, 90(4), 560–565.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Curran-Everett, D. (2000). Multiple comparisons: Philosophies and illustrations. American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 279(1), R1–R8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. De Bellis, M. D. (2002). Developmental traumatology: A contributory mechanism for alcohol and substance use disorders. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27, 155–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Derogatis, L. R. (1993). The brief symptom inventory: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual (3rd ed.). Minneapolis: National Computer Systems, Inc.Google Scholar
  11. Dube, S., Anda, R., Whitfield, C., Brown, D., Felitti, V., Dong, M., & Giles, W. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 28(5), 430–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dube, S., Felitti, V., Dong, M., Chapman, D., Giles, W., & Anda, R. (2003). Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.
  13. Feise, R. (2005). Do multiple outcome measures require p-value adjustment? BMC Medical Research Methodology. Accessed 18 October, 2005.
  14. Felitti, V., Anda, R., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D., Spitz, A., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gonzales, R., Marinelli-Casey, P., Shoptaw, S., Ang, A., & Rawson, R. (2006). Hepatitis C virus infection among methamphetamine-dependent individuals in outpatient treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 31, 195–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hillhouse, M., Marinelli-Casey, P., & Rawson, R. (2005). The LET (Life Experience Timeline): A new instrument for collecting time-anchored natural history data. Poster presented at the 67th annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Orlando, Florida, June.Google Scholar
  17. Holmes, W. C., & Slap, G. B. (1998). Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management. Journal of the American Medical Association, 280(21), 1855–1862.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hosmer, D., & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Johnson, D. (2005). Meth: the home cooked menace. Hazelton: Center City.Google Scholar
  20. McLellan, A. T., Kuchner, H., Metzger, D., Peters, R., Grissom, G., Pettinati, H., et al. (1992). The 5th edition of the Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 9, 199–213.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Messina, N., & Grella, C. (2006). Childhood trauma and women’s health: A California prison population. American Journal of Public Health, 96(10), 1842–1848.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Messina, N., Burdon, W., & Prendergast, M. (2003). Assessing the needs of women in institutional therapeutic communities. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 37(2), 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Messina, N., Grella, C., Burdon, W., & Prendergast, M. (2007). Childhood adverse events and current traumatic distress: A comparison of men and women prisoners. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34(11), 1385–1401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Messina, N., Marinelli-Casey, P., Hillhouse, M., Gonzales, R., Rawson, R., Ang, A., et al. (2008). Childhood adverse events and onset and severity of methamphetamine use among men and women. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, (in press)Google Scholar
  25. Rawson, R.A., Marinelli-Casey, P., & Huber, A. (2002). Treating methamphetamine dependence in adults. In: Straw, R. & Herrell, J. M. (Eds), Conducting Multiple Site Evaluations in Real World Settings. A Special issue for New Directions in Evaluation, 94, 73–87.Google Scholar
  26. Rawson, R. A., Marinelli-Casey, P., Anglin, M. D., Dickow, A., Frazier, Y., Gallagher, C., et al. (2004). A multi-site comparison of psychosocial approaches for the treatment of MA dependence. Addiction, 99(6), 708–717.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rawson, R., Gonzales, R., & Ling, W. (2006). Methamphetamine abuse and dependence: An update. Directions in Psychiatry, 26(10), 131–144.Google Scholar
  28. Sekine, Y., Iyo, M., Ouchi, Y., Matsunaga, T., Tsukada, H., Okada, H., et al. (2001). Methamphetamine-related psychiatric symptoms and reduced brain dopamine transporters studied with PET. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 1206–1214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sheehan, D. V., Lecrubier, Y., Sheehan, K. H., Amorim, P., Janavs, J., Weiller, E., et al. (1998). The mini-international neuropsychiatric interview (M.I.N.I): The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59(Suppl 20), 22–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Shoptaw, S., Reback, C., & Freese, T. (2002). Patient characteristics, HIV serostatus, and risk behaviors among gay and bisexual males seeking treatment for methamphetamine abuse and dependence in Los Angeles. Journal of Addictive Disorders, 21, 91–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Strona, F. V., McCright, J., Hjord, H., Ahrens, K., Tierny, S., Shoptaw, S., et al. (2006). Positive reinforcement opportunity project, a community based contingency management methamphetamine treatment project for gay and bisexual men in San Francisco. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 3, 377–381.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nena P. Messina
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia Marinelli-Casey
    • 1
  • Maureen Hillhouse
    • 1
  • Alfonso Ang
    • 1
  • Jeremy Hunter
    • 1
  • Richard Rawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations