Multisubstance Use Among Treatment-Seeking Smokers: Synergistic Effects of Coping Motives for Cannabis and Alcohol Use and Social Anxiety/Depressive Symptoms

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OBJECTIVE: This study examined the impact of coping motives for cannabis and alcohol use on the relation between social anxiety/depressive symptoms and severity of substance use for alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis among treatment-seeking smokers who also use cannabis and alcohol. METHODS: The sample included 197 daily cigarette smokers (MAge 34.81 years, SD = 13.43) who reported using cannabis and alcohol. RESULTS: Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted wherein separate models were constructed for each dependent variable. Among individuals with higher social anxiety, alcohol coping motives were associated with heavier drinking, and this was more pronounced among those low in depressive symptoms. Similarly, those at greater risk for nicotine dependence were anxious individuals with lower depressive symptoms who endorse coping-oriented motives for using cannabis. Further, among those with higher social anxiety, cannabis coping motives were associated with marginally greater drinking, particularly for those high in depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings support the perspective that among multisubstance users, the interplay between social anxiety, depressive symptoms, and coping-oriented motives for using one substance (e.g., cannabis or alcohol) may pose difficulties in refraining from other substances (e.g., tobacco). This observation highlights the importance of tailoring multisubstance treatments to specific needs of multiusers for whom single-substance interventions may be less effective. Findings also support previous work exploring the benefits of concurrently treating co-occurring substance use and lend credence to the perspective that motivation to use substances for coping reasons is of central theoretical and clinical relevance.

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Substance use & misuse

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