Social Anxiety and Cannabis-Related Impairment: The Synergistic Influences of Peer and Parent Descriptive and Injunctive Normative Perceptions

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OBJECTIVES: Cannabis users, especially socially anxious cannabis users, are influenced by perceptions of other's use. The present study tested whether social anxiety interacted with perceptions about peer and parent beliefs to predict cannabis-related problems. METHODS: Participants were 148 (36.5% female, 60.1% non-Hispanic Caucasian) current cannabis users aged 18-36 (M = 21.01, SD = 3.09) who completed measures of perceived descriptive and injunctive norms, social anxiety, and cannabis use behaviors. Hierarchical multiple regressions were employed to investigate the predictive value of the social anxiety X parent injunctive norms X peer norms interaction terms on cannabis use behaviors. RESULTS: Higher social anxiety was associated with more cannabis problems. A three-way interaction emerged between social anxiety, parent injunctive norms, and peer descriptive norms, with respect to cannabis problems. Social anxiety was positively related to more cannabis problems when parent injunctive norms were high (i.e., perceived approval) and peer descriptive norms were low. Results further showed that social anxiety was positively related to more cannabis problems regardless of parent injunctive norms. CONCLUSIONS: The present work suggests that it may be important to account for parent influences when addressing normative perceptions among young adult cannabis users. Additional research is needed to determine whether interventions incorporating feedback regarding parent norms impacts cannabis use frequency and problems.

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Substance use & misuse

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