Monday, May 5, 2008

Marijuana use as a coping response

Preston, P. (2006). Marijuana use as a coping response to psychological strain: racial, ethnic, and gender differences among young adults. Deviant Behavior, 27, 397-420.

Besides tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is the most frequently used and abused substance. This study used data taken from the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (from all 50 states), and examined 4601 subjects between the ages of 18-25 who used marijuana within the past year. Their dependent variable was marijuana use frequency, defined as either recreational or chronic, with chronic being greater than 12 times per month. Independent variables measured included strain, economic strain, norms favorable to drug use, number of friends who use drugs, and attitudes towards risky behavior. Results were also examined through the lenses of gender, ethnicity, marital status, employment status, and education.

Results indicate that social learning factors have the strongest effect on chronic marijuana use, operationalized as the number of friends who use drugs and a personal approval of drug use. Strain (operationalized as social nervousness) had the next strongest effect. Self control had a weak effect overall. High school dropouts and the unmarried were found to be particularly at risk for becoming chronic users. Strain appeared to have a stronger effect on minority groups, possibly suggesting fewer alternative coping strategies in this population. Minority women experience a "double-whammy", more likely than their nonminority counterparts to be chronic users and also more likely to be affected by social learning and self control variables.


Jeff Girard said...

I've seen research as well that marijuana is more effective in treating depression than Prozac. I'll look for the specific reference.

Doug Girard said...

I'd like to see the study. Here is an article that claims the opposite, that marijuana use can worsen depression.