Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 1009–1017 | Cite as

Health-risk behaviors and quality of life among young men

  • Michelle Dey
  • Gerhard Gmel
  • Joseph Studer
  • Meichun Mohler-Kuo



To examine the associations between substance use and other health-risk behaviors and quality of life (QOL) among young men.


The analytical sample consisted of 5,306 young Swiss men who participated in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors. Associations between seven distinct self-reported health-risk behaviors (risky single-occasion drinking; volume drinking; cigarette smoking; cannabis use; use of any other illicit drugs; sexual intercourse without a condom; low physical activity) were assessed via chi-square analysis. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to study the associations between each particular health-risk behavior and either physical or mental QOL (assessed with the SF-12v2) while adjusting for socio-demographic variables and the presence of all other health-risk behaviors.


Most health-risk behaviors co-occurred. However, low physical activity was not or negatively related to other health-risk behaviors. Almost all health-risk behaviors were associated with a greater likelihood of compromised QOL. However, sexual intercourse without a condom (not associated with both physical and mental QOL) and frequent risky single-occasion drinking (not related to mental QOL after adjusting for the presence of other health-risk behaviors; positively associated with physical QOL) differed from this pattern.


Health-risk behaviors are mostly associated with compromised QOL. However, sexual intercourse without a condom and frequent risky single-occasion drinking differ from this pattern and are therefore possibly particularly difficult to change relative to other health-risk behaviors.


Quality of life Binge drinking Smoking Cannabis Physical activity Unsafe sex 



We are grateful to Charlotte Eidenbenz and Petra Dermota for project management and to Caroline Bähler for her valuable input regarding physical activity. This work has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (33CS30_139467).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Dey
    • 1
  • Gerhard Gmel
    • 2
  • Joseph Studer
    • 2
  • Meichun Mohler-Kuo
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Alcohol Treatment CentreLausanne University Hospital CHUVLausanneSwitzerland

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