Anxiety sensitivity and cannabis use-related problems: The impact of race

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance among young adults. Anxiety sensitivity (AS; ie, fear of anxiety-related symptoms) is positively related to coping motives for cannabis use (which are robustly positively linked to cannabis-related problems). However, AS is unrelated to cannabis use-related problems. Yet, extant studies have been conducted on primarily White samples. It may be that among Black students, AS-physical concerns (ie, fear of physical anxiety-related sensations) are related to cannabis problems given that Black individuals are more likely than White individuals to report experiencing greater and more intense somatic symptoms when experiencing anxiety. Black individuals may rely on cannabis to cope with fear of these somatic symptoms, continuing to use despite cannabis-related problems. METHODS: The current study tested whether race moderated the relation between AS-physical concerns and cannabis problems among 102 (85.3% female) current cannabis using undergraduates who were either non-Hispanic Black (n = 51) or non-Hispanic White (n = 51). RESULTS: After controlling for frequency of cannabis use, income, and gender, race significantly moderated the relation between AS-physical concerns and cannabis use-related problems such that AS-physical concerns significantly predicted cannabis-related problems among Black and not White individuals. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight the importance of considering race in identifying psychosocial predictors of cannabis-related problems. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Intervention strategies for Black cannabis users may benefit from examining and targeting AS-physical concerns. (Am J Addict 2017;26:209-214).

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The American journal on addictions

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