Age trends in rates of substance use disorders across ages 18–90: Differences by gender and race/ethnicity

Sara A. Vasilenko, Rebecca J. Evans-Polce, Stephanie T. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Background Although research has documented age differences in substance use, less is known about how prevalence of substance use disorders (SUDs) vary across age and differ by gender and race/ethnicity. Methods Time-varying effect models (TVEMs) were estimated on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions–III (NESARC III; N = 36,309), a nationally representative survey of the adult population. The sample was 44% male; 53% White, 21% Black, 19% Hispanic/Latino, 6% other race/ethnicity. Prevalence of four SUDs (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and opioid use disorders) were flexibly estimated across ages 18–90 by gender and race/ethnicity. Results Estimated SUD prevalences were generally higher for men compared to women at most ages until the 70s. However, disparities by race/ethnicity varied with age, such that for most SUDs, estimated prevalences were higher for White participants at younger ages and Black participants at older ages. Discussion Results suggest relatively constant disparities by gender across age, and a crossover effect for Black and White participants. Findings demonstrate that Black individuals in midlife may be an important target of intervention programs for some substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-264
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Age trends
  • Gender differences
  • Racial/ethnic differences
  • Substance use disorders
  • Time-varying effects modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Age trends in rates of substance use disorders across ages 18–90: Differences by gender and race/ethnicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this