Longitudinal associations between alcohol use, smoking, genetic risk scoring and symptoms of depression in the general population: a prospective 6-year cohort study

N de Boer*, J Vermeulen, B Lin, J van Os, M Ten Have, R de Graaf, S van Dorsselaer, M Bak, B Rutten, A Batalla, S Guloksuz, J J Luykx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption, smoking and mood disorders are leading contributors to the global burden of disease and are highly comorbid. Yet, their interrelationships have remained elusive. The aim of this study was to examine the multi-cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between (change in) smoking and alcohol use and (change in) number of depressive symptoms.

METHODS: In this prospective, longitudinal study, 6646 adults from the general population were included with follow-up measurements after 3 and 6 years. Linear mixed-effects models were used to test multi-cross-sectional and longitudinal associations, with smoking behaviour, alcohol use and genetic risk scores for smoking and alcohol use as independent variables and depressive symptoms as dependent variables.

RESULTS: In the multi-cross-sectional analysis, smoking status and number of cigarettes per day were positively associated with depressive symptoms (p < 0.001). Moderate drinking was associated with less symptoms of depression compared to non-use (p = 0.011). Longitudinally, decreases in the numbers of cigarettes per day and alcoholic drinks per week as well as alcohol cessation were associated with a reduction of depressive symptoms (p = 0.001-0.028). Results of genetic risk score analyses aligned with these findings.

CONCLUSIONS: While cross-sectionally smoking and moderate alcohol use show opposing associations with depressive symptoms, decreases in smoking behaviour as well as alcohol consumption are associated with improvements in depressive symptoms over time. Although we cannot infer causality, these results open avenues to further investigate interventions targeting smoking and alcohol behaviours in people suffering from depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409–1417
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume53
Issue number4
Early online date11 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • general population
  • longitudinal cohort study
  • polygenic risk score
  • smoking
  • symptoms of depression
  • NATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGIC SURVEY
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
  • HEALTH SURVEY SF-36
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • CIGARETTE-SMOKING
  • PSYCHIATRIC-DISORDERS
  • NICOTINE DEPENDENCE
  • MENTAL-DISORDERS
  • SELF-MEDICATION
  • COMORBIDITY

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