Refining the notion of maturing out: Results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions

Alvaro Vergés*, Angela M. Haeny, Kristina M. Jackson, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Julia D. Grant, Timothy J. Trull, Phillip K. Wood, Kenneth J. Sher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives. Our aim was to determine if the decrease in drug use disorders with age is attributable to changes in persistence, as implied by the notion of maturing out. Also, we examined the association between role transitions and persistence, recurrence, and new onset of drug use disorders. Methods. We performed secondary analysis of the 2 waves of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions data (baseline assessment 2001-2002, follow-up conducted 2004-2005). We conducted logistic regressions and multinomial logistic regression to determine the effect of age on wave 2 diagnosis status, as well as the interaction between age and role transitions. Results. Rates of persistence were stable over the life span, whereas rates of new onset and recurrence decreased with age. Changes in parenthood, marital, and employment status were associated with persistence, new onset, and recurrence. We found an interaction between marital status and age. Conclusions. Our findings challenge commonly held notions that the age-related decrease in drug use disorders is attributable to an increase in persistence, and that the effects of role transitions are stronger during young, compared with middle and older, adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e67-e73
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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