Category: Addictive Behaviors

PS7- #B34 - Sex Differences in Sexual Orientation and Marijuana Use as Mediated by Protective Strategies and Norms

Friday, Nov 17
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Addictive Behaviors | LGBTQ+ | Substance Abuse

Marijuana use differs by sexual orientation (SO) and sex (Parnes et al., 2017). Research shows when examined across the continuous SO spectrum (i.e., exclusively hetero to exclusively homosexual), bisexual individuals (i.e., spectrum center) report higher use than hetero or homosexual peers. Separated by sex, a quadratic relation exists with peak use at the center, however differences exist between male and female hetero and homosexual use. Past findings indicate injunctive and descriptive norms directly predict marijuana use and related consequences (Neighbors et al., 2008), and use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) relate to a decrease in use and consequences (Pedersen et al., 2016). To date, SO has only been studied as a predictor of cannabis dependence symptoms. This study investigated the relation between SO and marijuana-related consequences, testing PBS and both injunctive and descriptive norms as mediators, as well as sex differences. We hypothesized that SO would predict consequences in a similar quadratic relation to use. We also hypothesized that PBS and norms would mediate the relation. Finally, we hypothesized that this relation would be moderated by sex. Undergraduates at 11 universities (N = 8141, 67.5% female, age M = 20.40) completed surveys assessing marijuana use, norms, PBS, and consequences. Multigroup path analysis was run to test all hypotheses, by sex, with Monte Carlo confidence intervals testing indirect effects. SO was included as a linear and quadratic term (i.e., SO2). Results indicated SO did not significantly predict marijuana consequences, but did predict PBS and Norms, which predicted consequences. For males, SO predicted use of PBS, with lowest PBS at the center of the spectrum and highest PBS at either end. PBS negatively predicted consequences, with a significant indirect effect from SO to consequences through PBS. For females, SO and SO2 predicted injunctive norms, with peak perceived approval at the spectrum center. Injunctive norms negatively predicted consequences, with a significant indirect effect. Additionally, female SO and SO2 predicted descriptive norms, however in the opposite direction as injunctive norms. While descriptive norms directly predicted consequences, the indirect effect was not significant. Results for males were consistent with past findings that PBS reduce consequences. For females, norms did not predict consequences as expected, however reflect the importance of normative perceptions in predicting consequences. Overall, these mediations help explain the relation between SO and consequences. Moreover, they show the importance of PBS for males and norms for females for predicting consequences. These findings can inform intervention studies, with the potential differences in focus by sex.

Jamie E. Parnes

Graduate Student
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

Mark A. A. Prince

Assistant Professor
Colorado State University, Colorado

Bradley T. Conner

Associate Professor
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

Matthew R. Pearson

Research Assistant Professor
University of New Mexico