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01-02-2011 | Uitgave 1/2011 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 1/2011

Current quality of life and its determinants among opiate-dependent individuals five years after starting methadone treatment

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 1/2011
Jessica De Maeyer, Wouter Vanderplasschen, Jan Lammertyn, Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen, Bernard Sabbe, Eric Broekaert



This study explores the current QoL of opiate-dependent individuals who started outpatient methadone treatment at least 5 years ago and assesses the influence of demographic, psychosocial, drug and health-related variables on individuals’ QoL.


Participants (n = 159) were interviewed about their current QoL, psychological distress and severity of drug-related problems, using the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile, the Brief Symptom Inventory and the Addiction Severity Index. Potential determinants of QoL were assessed in a multiple linear regression analysis.


Five years after the start of methadone treatment, opiate-dependent individuals report low QoL scores on various domains. No association was found between drug-related variables and QoL, but a significant negative impact of psychological distress was identified. Severity of psychological distress, taking medication for psychological problems and the inability to change one’s living situation were associated with lower QoL. Having at least one good friend and a structured daily activity had a significant, positive impact on QoL.


Opiate-dependent individuals’ QoL is mainly determined by their psychological well-being and a number of psychosocial variables. These findings highlight the importance of a holistic approach to treatment and support in methadone maintenance treatment, which goes beyond fixing the negative physical consequences of opiate dependence.

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