Negative affectivity as a mechanism underlying perceived distress tolerance and cannabis use problems, barriers to cessation, and self-efficacy for quitting among urban cannabis users

Kara Manning, University of Houston, Department of Psychology, Houston, TX, United States.
Daniel J. Paulus, University of Houston, Department of Psychology, Houston, TX, United States.
Julianna B. Hogan, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX, United States.
Julia D. Buckner, Louisiana State University, Department of Psychology, Baton Rouge, LA, United States.
Samantha G. Farris, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, United States; Centers for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, United States; General Medicine Research Unit, Butler Hospital, Providence, RI, United States.
Michael J. Zvolensky, University of Houston, Department of Psychology, Houston, TX, United States; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Behavioral Science, Houston, TX, United States. Electronic address:


Cannabis use rates continue to rise in the United States and currently cannabis is among the most widely used substances in the world. Cannabis use is associated with several mental health problems, low educational attainment, low income, and underemployment. The current study explored the tendency to experience negative affect (negative affectivity) as a factor accounting for the association between perceived distress tolerance and problems related to the use of cannabis. Participants included 203 urban adult daily cannabis users (29.2% female, M=37.7years, 63% African American). Results indicated that there was a significant indirect effect of distress tolerance via negative affectivity in terms of cannabis use problems (b=-0.58, 95%CI [-1.14, -0.21]), cannabis withdrawal (b=-0.65, 95%CI [-1.36, -0.21]), self-efficacy for quitting (b=-0.83, 95%CI [-1.85, -0.22]), and perceived barriers for cannabis cessation (b=-0.71, 95%CI [-1.51, -0.24]). The present data provide novel empirical evidence suggesting negative affectivity may help explain the relation between perceived distress tolerance and an array of clinically significant cannabis use processes. Intervention programming for daily cannabis users may benefit from targeting negative affectivity to facilitate change in cannabis use processes among users who tend to perceive that they are less capable of tolerating distress.