Can subjective well-being and body concern in adolescence predict prescribed medication in adulthood? Findings from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study and the Norwegian Prescription Database
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Aim: To examine whether subjective well-being (SW) and body concern among adolescents aged 15–19 years has an impact on adult health, measured by medications dispensed on average 18 years later. Methods: Data collected in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) was paired with data from the Norwegian Prescription database (NorPD). We investigated the effects of adolescent SW and body concern on total number of medications, on use of anti-infectives (ATC-group J), medication for the musculo-skeletal system (ATC-group M), anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives (ATC-groups N05B and N05C), and finally antipsychotics, antidepressants and psychostimulants, agents used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and nootropics (ATC-groups N05A, N06A and N06B). We used multi-variable models where we entered body dissatisfaction and SW simultaneously in the models in order to adjust for the associations between the predictors, and also adjusted for possible confounders in the models. Results: Both body concern (dieting and dieting desire) and impaired SW predicted drug use 17–18 years after the participants were surveyed in adolescence. The impact was disease specific as body concern was the most influential predictor for drugs used for somatic diseases and complaints, whereas impaired SW was more strongly associated with drug use for mental health diseases and complaints. Conclusions: SW and body concern are important health determinants in the transition between adolescence and adulthood.