Celebrities in Rehab: Who is more at risk?

Celebrities in Rehab: Who is more at risk? poster

Audio Presentation:

Audio Transcript

Research Authorship:

Skye Downey, Anastasia Kuhles, Beth Kulikov, Vanessa Martinez, Karl Schneider, Sydney Weinreb, & Tes Tuason Ph.D.

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Tes Tuason | Brooks College of Health | Department of Public Health


Does celebrity status make people more likely to need rehab? The purpose of the current study is to better understand the trends in substance abuse rehabilitation admittance among celebrities from 2005 to 2020. The authors became interested in the topic due to its myriad implications within the clinical mental health counseling field. Popular lore indicates a positive correlation between celebrity status and substance abuse. Previous studies have covered the predictive factors of celebrity downfall, but few have gone into specific trends among rehabilitation admittance. This mixed method review is designed to further look at the specific factors in celebrity status and substance use that may be indicative of future admittance. Using a phenomenological approach, this study analyzed n= 47 celebrities who were admitted to rehabilitation centers and the relationships between various factors including the type of industry, gender, age at admittance, type of substance, death related to substance abuse, and age the individuals entered their industries. Secondary data was collected from various publicly available sources. The data is entered and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Preliminary findings suggest that musicians have the highest rate of rehabilitation admittance among all celebrity industries, that the average age of celebrities at admission is early to mid-20’s, and that the average age that they become celebrities is early adolescence. These findings are relevant to understanding celebrities’ impact on the public and the need for awareness of the risks of their lifestyles on their mental and physical health as it relates to substance abuse.

Hello, I am Karl Schneider, a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at the University of North Florida.  On behalf of my classmates Skye Downey, Anastasia Kuhles, Beth Kulikov, Vanessa Martinez, Sydney Weinreb, and our Professor, Dr. Tes Tuason, I thank you for your interest in our research project, “Celebrities in Rehab:  Who is more at risk?”.

We wanted to understand more about the trends of celebrity admittance into substance abuse programs from 2005 through 2020.

We have three hypotheses: 

  1. There is a positive correlation between the age of a celebrity upon entering  the profession and age at admittance to rehabilitation.
  2. Men who have gone into rehabilitation are more likely to die of substance abuse than women.
  3. Women who go into rehabilitation are younger than men going into rehabilitation.

We considered 47 celebrities, at least 18 years old, who were admitted at least once into a substance abuse rehabilitation facility between 2005 through 2020.  We gathered our data from queries through the Google search engine, which resulted in articles from websites such as Wikipedia, webmd, usmagizine, drugabuse, newsday, and PerezHilton.  We cross referenced websites to confirm celebrity status, and to verify that the admittance to the rehabilitation facility was for substance abuse issues.

We used a combination of correlational analysis and independent samples to analyze the data.

Of our sample population, the mean age at first achieving fame was 18.38 years old.  The mean age at admittance to a facility was 37.89 years old.  Gender showed 32 celebrities were male, and 15 female.  Four celebrities died of substance abuse during the time period, two male and two female.

Our results:

Surprisingly, our first hypothesis proved wrong.  There was no statistically significant correlation between the age of entering into celebrity status and the age of admittance into a rehabilitation facility.

Our second hypothesis also proved wrong.   Women died of substance abuse at a higher rate than men–two of 15 women died due to substance abuse, while only two of 32 men died due to substance abuse.

We also found our third hypothesis was in error.  There was no significant difference between age at entering rehabilitation facilities and gender.  

We did find a number of interesting phenomena in our work.  Celebrities enter their professions in late adolescence, and go into rehabilitation about 20 years later.  Age at entry into celebrity status has no correlation to entry into rehabilitation.  In the sample population, women die at a higher rate than men.  Actors make up most of the celebrities entering into rehabilitation.  The majority of celebrities in the study abused multiple substances.  Twenty percent of the celebrities reported   mental health disorders, including depression, eating disorders, and anxiety.  Five reported two or more comorbid disorders.

Future research is indicated in several areas.  What happens in the twenty years between entry into a profession and the decision to go into rehabilitation?  Why are women celebrities more likely to die than men?  Why do actors make up most of the celebrities in rehabilitation?  Are there underlying mental health disorders in those celebrities that did not report any? 

Our limitations:  We only looked at those celebrities who entered into in-patient rehabilitation.  Others may have received private treatment or used an out-patient program.  Finally, our data was only data that was generally available to the public.

While the study did not yield significant results as we had hoped, the descriptive statistics remain to be further investigated.

We hope you learned something  today–thank you!

3 thoughts on “Celebrities in Rehab: Who is more at risk?”

  1. Dr. Tes Tuason

    Wonderful! You may be tired hearing this, but I am so proud of all your hard work in coming up with this research idea (which is interesting), gathering data (from sources familiar to you), analyzing your results and putting this up in this colorful, clear and fabulous poster! Looking forward to your paper.

  2. Kassie Terrell

    Great job! This topic is so interesting. I would love to hear more about the gender differences and the comorbid mental health disorders you all discovered.

Comments are closed.