The Relationship Between Social Support in Socially Stigmatized Populations and Substance Use

An inverse relationship between perceived social support and substance Use frequency in socially stigmatized populations

In Summary

Researchers have recently attempted to elucidate the relationship between perceived social support and frequency of substance use in socially stigmatized groups revealing contextual differences. The two groups utilized in this study, substance-using male prison inmates and primary-methamphetamine using men who have sex with men, showed different results in the study, leaving the researchers with more questions than answers. In the inmates’ group perceived social support was negatively correlated to life-time substance use for alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis yet the methamphetamine-users only demonstrated the same negative correlation for a 30-day period. The authors are uncertain as to the differences in results but suggest that future research delves into the psychosocial or contextual differences behind these two groups.

Looking into the substance use frequency and patterns of stigmatized or marginalized groups are not often done leaving many populations without specialized treatment or prevention programs. Our culture, peers, family, and environment all come together to shape who we are and mold how we think about the world and our place in it. People begin using substances for different reasons although some motivations are common among certain populations. By examining the underlying motivation for substance use frequency members of the healthcare community may be able to develop custom prevention or treatment methods by utilizing psychology or another science to drastically decrease the frequency of substance use disorders in all populations.

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