(Feb. 5, 2018) – Dorothy T. Nicholson Distinguished Professor Diane M. Santa Maria, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., R.N., Department of Nursing Systems, is lead author of an article published online Dec. 29, 2017 in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

The study assessed patterns of drug use and the correlation between real-time contextual factors and drug use using Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA)), a design system and mobile app, used for the first time among homeless youth and collected daily.

Researchers identified predictors of drug use among a sample of homeless youth, 18-25 years old, in Houston, including: experience of discrimination, pornography and alcohol use, urges for substance abuse, and urges to steal.

The authors, including Cizik School of Nursing Associate Professor of Research Nikhil S. Padhye, Ph.D., suggest additional research to determine if EMA-informed, just-in-time interventions targeting these predictors can reduce drug use. See:

Diane Santa Maria, Nikhil Padhye, Yijiong Yang, Kathryn Gallardo, Glenn-Milo Santos, Julie Jung & Michael Businelle (2017): Drug use patterns and predictors among homeless youth: results of an ecological momentary assessment, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1407328

“This research study lays the foundation for disrupting patterns of risk behaviors among youth experiencing homelessness by determining what real-time factors influence risk, because we now have a clearer idea of how to intervene in real-time when imminent risk is detected using the app,” said Santa Maria. These findings can help health and social service providers as well as researchers working with high-risk populations,” said Santa Maria.

This project was partially funded by PARTNERS.