Objective To assess the link between childhood attention problems (AP) and substance use 18 years later. Study design This cohort study was conducted in a community sample of 1103 French youths followed from 1991 to 2009. Exposures and covariates were childhood behavioral problems (based on parental report at baseline), early substance use, school difficulties, and family adversity. Outcome measures were regular tobacco smoking, alcohol problems, problematic cannabis use, and lifetime cocaine use (based on youth reports at follow-up). Results Individuals with high levels of childhood AP had higher rates of substance use (regular tobacco smoking, alcohol problems, problematic cannabis use, and lifetime cocaine use). However, when taking into account other childhood behavioral problems, early substance use, school difficulties, and family adversity, childhood AP were related only to regular tobacco smoking and lifetime cocaine use. Early cannabis exposure was the strongest risk factor for all substance use problems. Conclusion This longitudinal community-based study shows that, except for tobacco and cocaine, the association between childhood AP and substance use is confounded by a range of early risk factors. Early cannabis exposure plays a central role in later substance use.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health