The impact of music on the addictive trajectory: perspective from young adults who experience homelessness.
Background: An important proportion of homeless young adults experience problematic psychoactive substance (PS) use. Problematic PS use, conceived as a chronic health issue, encompasses the concept of addictive trajectory, according to which the severity of PS-related issues varies dynamically over time based on individual and contextual factors.
So far, much of what is known about the factors that modulate addictive trajectories focus on users’ difficulties. Yet, considering their limited access to helping services, they demonstrate strong capacities to rely on personal resources to act upon their own PS use. While homeless young adults’ personal resources remain unknown, literature supports the importance of music in addressing specific needs relative to their global well-being. However, music has heterogeneous impacts on PS use and requires further understanding. This study aims to describe and understand the role of music in the addictive trajectory of young adults who experience homelessness and problematic PS use.
Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 young adults aged 18 to 30 years old who experience homelessness and problematic PS use, during which we explored how music modulated the addictive trajectory. A trajectory analysis was performed iteratively with data collection.
Results: Seven participants reported no link between music and their PS use. As for others, music most often represent a health-promoting tool used to control, reduce or recover from problematic PS use, though it sometimes led to the initiation of novel substances, increased consumption and relapses. These impacts vary according to multiple mechanisms, including personal interpretation of the music, past experiences associated with music and personal involvement in various music-related activities.
Conclusions: In a harm reduction perspective, a better comprehension of the impact of music on the addictive trajectory will allow for the development of adapted outreach interventions that account for the interests, strengths and capacities of homeless young adults.