PURPOSE: To examine the associations between substance use and other health-risk behaviors and quality of life (QOL) among young men.
METHODS: The analytical sample consisted of 5,306 young Swiss men who participated in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors. Associations between seven distinct self-reported health-risk behaviors (risky single-occasion drinking; volume drinking; cigarette smoking; cannabis use; use of any other illicit drugs; sexual intercourse without a condom; low physical activity) were assessed via chi-square analysis. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to study the associations between each particular health-risk behavior and either physical or mental QOL (assessed with the SF-12v2) while adjusting for socio-demographic variables and the presence of all other health-risk behaviors.
RESULTS: Most health-risk behaviors co-occurred. However, low physical activity was not or negatively related to other health-risk behaviors. Almost all health-risk behaviors were associated with a greater likelihood of compromised QOL. However, sexual intercourse without a condom (not associated with both physical and mental QOL) and frequent risky single-occasion drinking (not related to mental QOL after adjusting for the presence of other health-risk behaviors; positively associated with physical QOL) differed from this pattern.
CONCLUSIONS: Health-risk behaviors are mostly associated with compromised QOL. However, sexual intercourse without a condom and frequent risky single-occasion drinking differ from this pattern and are therefore possibly particularly difficult to change relative to other health-risk behaviors.