Perceived injunctive norms and cannabis-related problems: The interactive influence of parental injunctive norms and race

Anthony H. Ecker, South Central Mental Illness Research and Clinical Center , Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center , Houston , Texas.
Kimberlye E. Dean, Louisiana State University , Baton Rouge , Louisiana.
Julia D. Buckner, Louisiana State University , Baton Rouge , Louisiana.
Dawn W. Foster, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven , Connecticut.


Cannabis use among college students is associated with negative consequences, including those that can negatively affect academic functioning. Perceived descriptive and injunctive norms are among the strongest predictors of college cannabis use and related problems, and perceived norms differentially relate to cannabis outcomes depending on the reference group (e.g., close friends, family members). However, no known studies have examined the effect of race on these relationships. Yet, given that African American students are more strongly affected by parental influence than Caucasian students and that they endorse more social motives for cannabis use, African American students may be affected by perceived norms regarding parents and friends differentially from Caucasian students. The current study tested the moderational role of race on the relationship between perceived norms and cannabis use and related problems. Cannabis-using undergraduates (N = 103; 78.6% female) completed an online survey. Race moderated the relationship between injunctive norms regarding parents and cannabis-related problem severity such that among African American students (but not Caucasian students), endorsement of more permissive perceived parental injunctive norms was related to greater cannabis-related problem severity (but not cannabis use frequency). Interactions were not significant between race and descriptive norms or between race and peer injunctive norms. African American students who perceive that their parents are more accepting of cannabis use may be especially at risk for cannabis-related problems. Results underscore the importance of considering cultural factors in identification of vulnerability factors related to cannabis problems.