Category: Addictive Behaviors

PS1- #A20 - Depression's Moderating Effects on Marijuana Use, Consequences, and Coping Motives Among Freshman University Students

Friday, Nov 17
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Addictive Behaviors | Substance Abuse | Depression

Recent shifts in the political and social climate regarding marijuana accessibility, increased perceptions

of safety, and higher incidence rates of use in the United States may contribute to an increase in the

prevalence of marijuana use among college students (Feldstein Ewing et al., 2016; Schmidt et al., 2016).

Given that 46.6% of college students have tried marijuana in their lifetime, and with student reports that

college matriculation is a critical time period of exposure (Suerken et al., 2014; Pinchevsky et al, 2012), it

is imperative that researchers and clinicians understand the effects that marijuana may have on

affective disturbance and depressive symptomatology in this critical developmental time period. While

past studies have established robust relationships between frequency of use, coping motives, and

marijuana problems (Mitchell et al., 2007), the additional nuances that current depressive

symptomatology may contribute to consequences and outcomes have not been examined within the

context of moderated mediation effects. The present study explored the effects of current depressive

symptomatology on the relationship between marijuana coping motives to (a) problems in college

students and (b) frequency of use. Freshmen (N =170, 53% male; 75% Caucasian) that had reported

prior marijuana use were asked to complete an anonymous online survey. Measures included in the

survey were the POMS, PHQ-8, BSSS, BIS/BAS scales, Marijuana motives measure, grades, and marijuana

use and consequences. The researchers proposed an omnibus model, which statistical analysis supported,

where depression was found to account for a large proportion of the variance (31%) in the existing

relationship between associated consequences, frequency of use, and coping motives. The results

suggest that depressive symptomatology may be a contributing factor towards the exacerbation of

negative consequences and outcomes among marijuana users within this population. Future directions

for research and clinical implications are discussed.

Travis D. Hyke

Doctoral Student
Palo Alto University
Sunnyvale, California

Kelby Katz

Doctoral Student
Palo Alto University

Sean Hatch

Doctoral Student
Palo Alto University

Amie L. Haas

Associate Professor
Palo Alto University
Palo Alto, California