Over the next few months, I’ll be conducting a research project on substance use and mental health outcomes, because I’m very interested in the impact that mind-altering substances can have on the way we think and relate to the world.
Research Project Overview
For my research, I’ll be using the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions dataset (NESARC). My primary research question will be “Is cannabis use associated with antisocial personality disorder?” Based on my preliminaary research (below), I hypothesize that cannabis use is associated with increased antisocial personality disorder, especially in women. My secondary research question will be “Is hallucinogen use associated with antisocial personality disorder?”
To answer these questions, I’ll be constructing my own codebook based on the NESARC codebook. My codebook will include:
- Section 1: Background Information
- Section 3C: Drug Abuse/Dependence
- Section 3D: Drug Treatment Utilization
- Section 11A: Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Section 11B: Family History of Antisocial Personality Disorder
I did a quick Google Scholar search into “cannabis use and mental health” and “cannabis use and antisocial behaviors.”
- Cannabis use and mental health: a review of recent epidemiological research: this was essentially a literature review of cannabis and mental health research prior to 2010, which helped set a great knowledge foundation.
- Cannabis use and mental health-related quality of life among individuals with depressive disorders: this study surveyed over 3,000 individuals with depressive disorders. Variables in the survey included gender, cannabis use, and “quality of life” metrics. It found that regular cannabis use was associated with decreased mental quality of life among women with depressive disorders, but not among men with depressive disorders. However, the low count of cannabis users compared to non-cannabis users gives me some pause. In my research, I’ll also plan to consider gender to understand how that influences mental health outcomes.
- Specific antisocial and borderline personality disorder criteria and general substance use: A twin study investigated personality disorders and cannabis use in twins, in order to disentangle genetic predispositions and the effects of cannabis. It found that risk factors for antisocial personality disorder may also be risk factors for substance abuse independent of genetics and the environment.