Psychosocial Correlates Of Marijuana Use In Adolescents And And Young Adults
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Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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Recreational marijuana use
The effects of marijuana use on health and behavioral health have been documented in studies. However, the renewed/continuous debates about marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes, its public health safety, impact policy, and behavioral health continues to be daily addressed. In the recent past, there appears to be an ever-evolving perceptual change on the impact of marijuana use, while proponents of marijuana legalization and decriminalization uphold that marijuana prohibition was a failure, accentuating their arguments based on increased arrests and incarceration of citizens for marijuana possession. As important as the impact of marijuana are the factors that may have an impact on marijuana use. The overall purpose of this study was to determine if depression and other selected variables had an impact on marijuana use in adolescents and young adults. The source of data for this study was the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2013) sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study analyzed data on 17,399 adolescents ages 12-17 years old and 18,142 young adults ages 18-25. Variables studied were major depressive episodes (past year and lifetime), socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, race, education), adolescents' perception of their parents' and peer's approval of marijuana use, adults' perceptions of the risk of frequency of marijuana use, access to marijuana, and states' legal marijuana laws. Chi-square analyses were used to determine if these variables were significantly associated with marijuana use. Logistic regression models were used to determine if depression was a predictor of marijuana use after controlling for other selected variables. This study provides evidence that past-year and lifetime depressive episodes had an impact on adolescent and young adult use of marijuana. Other predictors of marijuana use for adolescents were socio-demographic characteristics, adolescents' perception of how their parents felt about marijuana use, peer approval, perception of usage by student in the class, and access to marijuana. Other predictors of marijuana use for young adults were socio-demographic characteristics, perception of use whether 1-2 times a week or monthly, and accessibility to marijuana. The study findings had implications for social work interventions, practice, policy, and further research.