Sexual minority women and Cannabis use: The serial impact of PTSD symptom severity and coping motives

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Sexual minority women (SMW) report greater rates of cannabis use. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity is related to greater cannabis use among SMW, and it is theorized that this is due to SMW using cannabis in an attempt to manage negative affectivity associated with PTSD symptoms. However, this is the first known study to test this hypothesis. Among undergraduate women who endorsed lifetime cannabis use (N = 439, 10.5% self-identified SMW), SMW reported greater rates of cannabis use, more frequent cannabis use, greater coping-motivated use, and greater PTSD symptom severity than heterosexual women. Serial mediation analyses revealed that SMW reported more frequent cannabis use via the serial effect of PTSD symptom severity and coping-motivated cannabis use. Given the high rates of trauma exposure and cannabis use among SMW, findings suggest that SMW could benefit from exposure-based interventions in addition to cognitive behavioral skills that would teach them more adaptive strategies to manage negative affect associated with trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms.

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Addictive behaviors

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