Anxiety sensitivity and cannabis use problems, perceived barriers for quitting, and fear of quitting

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Cannabis is among the most widely used psychoactive substances in the United States, and rates of cannabis use and cannabis-related problems are increasing. Anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of aversive interoceptive sensations, may be relevant to better understanding cannabis use problems and other significant cannabis use processes (e.g., beliefs about quitting). Previous research has primarily focused on the global anxiety sensitivity construct; however, anxiety sensitivity lower-order facets (Cognitive Concerns, Physical Concerns, and Social Concerns) tend to be differentially related to substance use processes in non-cannabis specific studies. The current study therefore explored anxiety sensitivity lower-order facets in relation to cannabis use problems, perceived barriers for cannabis cessation, and abstinence phobia (fear of not using cannabis) among a community sample of 203 cannabis-using adults. Results indicated that anxiety sensitivity Cognitive Concerns were significantly associated with each of the dependent measures and these effects were not explained by shared variance with the other lower-order factors or a range of other covariates (e.g., tobacco use). The present findings suggest future work may benefit from focusing on the role of anxiety sensitivity Cognitive Concerns in the maintenance of cannabis use.

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Psychiatry research

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