Examining the Relationship Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Substance Use and Mental Health Outcomes in the Canadian Population
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This thesis examines the associations between substance use/ misuse and mental health outcomes among Canadians with a Traumatic Brain injury (TBI). Its primary aim is to explore whether or not individuals with a TBI have higher rates of substance use/misuse and poorer mental health than Canadians without a TBI, and to examine two competing hypothesis that help to explain these behaviours -- the impaired brain functioning and the general coping hypotheses. Drawing on data from the 2009-2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey, this research assessed substance use and mental health outcomes among those with a TBI, as well as two control groups: (1) individuals with a back or spinal injury; and (2) healthy non-injured controls. Analyses include descriptive statistics and multivariate regressions (logistic and multinomial) adjusting for a range of injury and socioeconomic variables. Those with a TBI demonstrated significantly elevated rates of binge drinking, illicit drug use, and having an anxiety disorder relative to non-injured Canadians, and provided partial support for both the impaired brain functioning and general coping hypotheses to substance use. These findings indicate that public health policy should increase awareness amongst healthcare and social workers on the necessity of continued follow-up of those who experience a TBI in order to reduce future health conditions and to reduce the likelihood of re-injury.