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Impact of marital or romantic relationship status on substance use among males aged 15–35 years residing in urban slums: A case–control study

Rakesh Pal, Tejbir Singh, Sanjeev Mahajan, Jasleen Kaur, Shyam Sunder Deepti, Preeti Padda, Arshdeep Kaur, Ritu Deepti.


Background: Drug use has been popular these days because of various effects on the body and mind. Drugs may alter the way a person thinks and behaves and act. This, in turn, affects their social relationship resulting in negative outcomes. The literature shows that pattern of consumption of alcohol use, varies by marital status, revealing heavy alcohol use among divorced or single people than among those who are married.

Aims and Objectives: Impact of marital or romantic relationship status on substance use among males aged 15–35 years residing in urban slums.

Materials and Methods: The proposed study was carried out in urban slums of Amritsar city. In each slum, house to house survey was conducted and the household having a male between age group of 15–35 years was noted as per the definitions of case and control. From each slum 15 cases and 15 controls (matched for age) for each age band were selected. For each case, one control (age matched) was selected keeping in mind to take only either one case or control from one household. As soon as, 60 cases and 60 controls were included, further survey was stopped in that slum. Similar methodology was followed in the remaining three slums selected to get a total sample of 480 (240 controls and 240 cases).

Results: Among unmarried majority of substance users (73.1%) were not having friend from opposite sex in comparison to substance non-users (58.6%). Among users and non-user majority 67.5% and 61.8%, respectively, said they will get married according to their parents’ choice. Among married majority of substance users (67.8%) got married at age ≤24 years whereas majority of substance non-users (62.1%) married at an age >24 years. Among substance users, a relatively lower proportion (65.3%) gave consent before marriage in comparison to substance non-users (81%).

Conclusion: The present study concludes that single and non-dating relationships were associated with heavy drinking and substance use in comparison to marriage and dating relationships.

Key words: Substance User; Substance Non-user; Marital and Romantic Relationship

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