Nicotine dependence and depression among women smokers on methadone maintenance


Objective: Tobacco use and depression are highly prevalent among methadone maintenance (MM) treatment programme participants. Our aim was to study the relationship between nicotine dependence, depression, and readiness to change smoking behaviour among women smokers in MM compared to women smokers attending a primary care clinic (Control group). Method: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 117 MM women smokers and 50 controls attending a family medicine clinic. All participants completed a computerized self-administered questionnaire, including demographic information, medical history, and drug and tobacco use history. Participants also completed the Fagerstrm Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA) instrument. Results: In this study 83% African American women had an average age of 43 years. Of the women smokers in the MM group, 95% were daily smokers compared to 46% in the Control group (P <0.05). The MM women smokers had CES-D scores of 22.5 compared to 14.7 in women of the Control group (P <0.0001). Women smokers in MM were significantly more likely to be depressed, more dependent on nicotine, and more ready to change their smoking behaviour. Conclusions: Our data show a higher level of nicotine dependence and depression, and greater readiness to change among women smokers in methadone maintenance programmes compared to women smokers attending primary care clinics. Methadone treatment programmes present a need and an opportunity to assess and intervene in nicotine dependence and depression and in addressing and eliminating health disparities. © 2010 Informa Healthcare.

Publication Title

European Journal of General Practice