Paige L. Sonido

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health concern in the U.S. and Rhode Island. The relationship between TBI and substance use is likely bidirectional. There is limited information on the relationship between TBI and substance use in young adults. This study aims to: 1) examine any sociodemographic disparities in TBI, and 2) understand the relationship between TBI and various types of substance use among young adults in Rhode Island. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted with data from the web-based Rhode Island Young Adult Survey (RIYAS) from May through August 2022. The survey resulted in N = 1,022 young adults aged 18-25 years who lived in Rhode Island for at least part of the year, all of whom are included in this study. Results: Among this sample of Rhode Island young adults, those having experienced a brain injury were more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use (p = 0.003), hazardous marijuana use (p < 0.001), and illicit drug use (p = 0.003).but not OTC nor prescription drug misuse. Black young adults, Asian young adults, and Hispanic young adults had 77% (95%CI: 26%, 93%), 79% (95%CI: 32%, 94%), and 58% (95%CI: 31%, 75%) lower odds of brain injury, respectively, compared to White, non-Hispanic young adults. Conclusion: While small-scale, single-program initiatives exist, there is a need for larger-scale, multidisciplinary programs to address TBI and SUD in various medical settings for behavioral health and emergency care.

Faculty Mentor

Samantha Rosenthal, PhD, MPH

Academic Discipline

BS - Health Science



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