Publication Abstract Display
Type: Published Manuscript
Title: Neurocognitive deficits are associated with unemployment in chronic methamphetamine users.
Authors: Weber E, Blackstone K, Iudicello JE, Morgan EE, Grant I, Moore DJ, Woods SP, and the TMARC Group
Year: 2012
Publication: Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume: 125 Issue: 1-2 Pages: 146-153
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Unemployment rates are high among chronic methamphetamine (MA) users and carry a significant economic burden, yet little is known about the neurocognitive and psychiatric predictors of employment in this vulnerable population. METHODS: The present study examined this issue in 63 participants with recent MA dependence and 47 comparison subjects without histories of MA use disorders. All participants completed a comprehensive neurocognitive, psychiatric and neuromedical evaluation. Individuals with HIV infection, severe neuropsychological or psychiatric conditions that might affect cognition (e.g., seizure disorder, schizophrenia), or a positive Breathalyzer or urine toxicology screen on the day of testing were excluded. RESULTS: Consistent with previous research, a logistic regression revealed MA dependence as a significant, independent predictor of full-time unemployment status. Within the MA-dependent sample, greater impairment in global neurocognitive functioning and history of injection drug use emerged as significant independent predictors of unemployment status. The association between worse global cognitive functioning and unemployment was primarily driven by deficits in executive functions, learning, verbal fluency, and working memory. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that neurocognitive deficits play a significant role in the higher unemployment rates of MA-dependent individuals, and highlight the need for vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs that assess and bolster cognitive skills in this population.

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