Population Health Research Brief Series

We Need to Change the Language we use to Describe Individuals with Substance Use Issues

Austin McNeill Brown


  • Terms like “Substance Abuser,” “Alcoholic and “Addict” stigmatize people with substance use issues.
  • Health care professionals, individuals with addictions, individuals in recovery, and the general public all associate negative bias with terms like “addict” and “abuser”.
  • Person-first language such as “person with a substance use disorder” should be used by professionals to describe populations with substance use issues.
  • Health care professional should also use caution with terms like “Relapse” and “Medication Assisted Treatment” as those terms are associated with negative bias.

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Results from the SU Health & Wellness Goal Survey

Shannon Monnat, Mary Kate Lee, Ashley Van Slyke, and Alexandra Punch


  • Increasing physical activity is the top-ranked health and wellness goal at SU.
  • Improving diet and nutrition and better managing stress were also highly prioritized.
  • Graduate students were more likely than other groups to report having goals to be kinder to themselves and to improve their mood.
  • Females were more likely than males to report having goals to improve their diet and nutrition and better manage stress.
  • Males were more likely than females to report having goals to improve family relationships, improve relationships with others, and reduce alcohol consumption.

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There are Costs from Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Sean Withington and Alexandra Punch

In 2006, Facebook marked the beginning of a new era in social media by making itself universally available. Since then, membership on social media platforms has exploded. Ninety percent of young adults in the U.S. are now on social media, and the majority visit these sites at least once per day.1 Nearly half of all social media users in the U.S. visit sites a minimum of 31 times per week. Social media has benefits, including the ability to share important information, communicate with friends, and expand one’s social circle by being connected to a diverse group of people. Excessive social media use also has costs, including addiction, loneliness, depression, reduced self-esteem, and reduced ability to develop meaningful relationships.1 Continue Reading

People with Developmental Disabilities Have Much more Life to Live

Dalton Stevens

• Adults with any type of development disability (DD) die an average of 23.5 years earlier than adults without developmental disability.
• The early death disadvantage is largest for those with cerebral palsy, other rare developmental disabilities, or co-occurring developmental disabilities, who die up to 34 years earlier than adults without DD.
• Individuals with intellectual disability die an average of 12.7 years earlier than those without DD.
• Adults with DD die at extremely higher rates between ages 18-39 compared to those without DD. 52% of adults with cerebral palsy and other rare DD died between ages 18-39, whereas only 4% of adults without DD died at these ages. Continue Reading

Having a disability increases the likelihood of food insecurity despite federal programs to prevent this hardship

Colleen Heflin, Claire Altman, and Laura Rodriguez


  • Disabilities are associated with food insecurity through multiple pathways.
  • Work-limiting disabilities, cognitive limitations, trouble hearing, and certain physical limitations are related to increased likelihood of food insecurity for prime-age adults (age 19-59).
  • The high prevalence of food insecurity among the disabled population represents a policy failure at the national level.

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Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health is Better in States that Mandate More School Mental Health Policies

Stephanie Spera and Shannon Monnat

Mental illness affects 1 in 5 adolescents in the U.S., and childhood mental health problems often become more severe in young adulthood. Schools are an essential resource for adolescent mental health because children spend more of their awake hours in school than in any other setting. States vary in their mandates related to school mental health policies.  Continue Reading