Publications & Reports

The role of significant life events in discriminating help-seeking among illicit drug users.

R Power, R Hartnoll, C Chalmers
Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, University of London, England.


This paper examines the role of significant life events in distinguishing two samples of illicit drug users: 120 help-seekers (the “agency group”) and 120 not seeking help (the “non-agency group”).

We examined 10 life areas clustered around the general categories of “substance use,” “social functioning,” and “emotional and interpersonal functioning.”

A range of objective and self-reported information was collected regarding each life area covering the 12 months prior to interview.

Analysis revealed that the agency group experienced a greater number of negatively perceived drug-related life events than the non-agency group.

These life events were also more likely to have occurred in recent months, prompting reported “concern” and “need for help” among the agency group.

Additionally, length of use of current primary drug was seen to be a contributory variable in distinguishing between the groups.


  • Journal: The International journal of the addictions
  • Published: 01/09/1992
  • Volume: 27
  • Issue: 9
  • Pagination: 1019-1034