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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the relationship between cannabis use expectancies and the initiation of cannabis use among Canadian adolescents Hapsari, Ayu Pinky


BACKGROUND: Canada has one of the highest reported rates of adolescent cannabis use among industrialized countries and plans to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults. However, research suggesting that cannabis use during adolescence may be associated with health risks has led to a call for monitoring the impact of legalization on use by adolescents. Based on evidence that identifies outcome expectancies (expectations regarding the effect of substance use) and intention to use as significant predictors of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking among adolescence, monitoring efforts associated with the upcoming cannabis regulation may benefit from the use of similar predictors. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the validity of the Marijuana Effect Expectancy Questionnaire-Brief (MEEQ-B) as a measure of cannabis use expectancies and then examine the relationship between expectancies and the intention to use cannabis, as well as their predictive utility as indicators of future cannabis use. METHODS: Data were collected from 1592 high school students aged 14-16 years participating in British Columbia Adolescent Substance Use Survey during the 2011/2012 school year. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to evaluate the psychometric structure of the MEEQ-B, and generalized estimating equation (GEE) using logit link was used to examine the relationship between expectancies, intention to try, and initiation and lifetime use of cannabis. RESULTS: The initial two-factor structure of MEEQ-B did not provide a good fit to the data. However, cross-loading item 6 onto both positive and negative expectancies factors resulted in a good fit. After controlling for gender, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic status, results of the GEE indicated that positive expectancies were significantly and positively associated with lifetime cannabis use (AOR: 2.47), and initiation of cannabis within six months (AOR: 1.9), whereas the reverse trend was found for negative expectancies. Having at least some intention to try cannabis increased the odds of cannabis initiation by seven times (AOR: 6.91). CONCLUSION: Revision to the MEEQ-B questions is needed to reliably measure expectancies related to adolescent cannabis use. In support of Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction, expectancies and intention to use can be utilized as upstream indicators for future cannabis initiation.

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