Smoking and drinking in relation to depressive symptoms among persons with oral cancer or oral epithelial dysplasia

Douglas E. Morse, Walter J. Psoter, Linda S. Baek, Ellen Eisenberg, Donald Cohen, Deborah Cleveland, Mirseyed Mohit-Tabatabai, Susan Reisine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. We examined whether smoking or drinking during or before the diagnosis-year of oral cancer or oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) was related to "subsequent depression" measured months after the oral diagnosis. Methods. Incident cases of oral cancer or OED were identified via 3 oral pathology laboratories. A telephone-administered questionnaire included questions on smoking/drinking history through the diagnosis-year and measured depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D); scores of 16+ indicated clinical depression. "Subsequent depression" was defined as a CES-D score of 16+, measured at the time of assessment several months after the diagnosis of oral cancer or OED. Results. Patients who smoked during their diagnosis-year had twice the odds of subsequent depression relative to former/never smokers. Diagnosis-year (vs never/former) drinking was not associated with depression; however, average alcohol consumption of >1.5 drinks/week was negatively associated with subsequent depression for both diagnosis-year and ex-drinkers (past reported drinking) even among heavy drinkers. Conclusion. Our findings suggest that subsequent depression is positively associated with diagnosis-year smoking and negatively associated with alcohol consumption of >1.5 drinks/week among both diagnosis-year and ex-drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-587
Number of pages10
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Depression
  • Drinking
  • Oral cancer
  • Oral epithelial dysplasia
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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