Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, I applied Phelan, Link and Tehranifar's (2010) fundamental cause theory (FCT) framework to examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and prescription opioid use behaviors. I also explored the mediating roles of health status and the deployment of flexible resources. I hypothesized that (1) a negative association would exist between SES and prescription opioid use, misuse, and use disorder, and (2) health status and the deployment of flexible resources (e.g. health care access, knowledge, social support) would mediate this relationship. As hypothesized and consistent with FCT, higher SES was associated with significantly lower odds of prescription opioid use behaviors. Two flexible resources, health care access and social support, and various indicators of poor health helped explain this relationship. Inconsistent with FCT, knowledge of heroin use as being a "great risk" was not a mediator of the SES-prescription opioid use behaviors association. Based on these findings, efforts to reduce SES disparities in prescription opioid use behaviors should emphasize reducing SES disparities overall as well as in health and access to important health-enhancing resources. Limitations of this study and directions for future research are discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Nicholson, Harvey, "Socioeconomic Status and Prescription Opioid Use Behaviors among U.S. Adults: A Test of the Fundamental Cause Theory Framework" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6547.