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You can feel good: positive outcomes of marijuana use




Parnes, Jamie E., author
Conner, Bradley T., advisor
Prince, Mark A., committee member
Swaim, Randall C., committee member
Riggs, Nathaniel R., committee member

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To date, limited marijuana research has focused on identifying reinforcing outcomes related to use, often perceived as positive outcomes. Operant conditioning and social learning theories suggest that the reinforcing aspects of substance use are a primary contributor to maintained use, and in turn, risk of dependence. Individuals who use marijuana report expecting positive outcomes which motivates use; however, the occurrence of such positive outcomes are rarely examined. Moreover, research has yet to develop a reliable, validated measure of positive marijuana-related outcomes. The present study sought to develop and psychometrically evaluate such a measure. I hypothesized that: 1) positive outcomes would be positively associated with marijuana use, positive expectancies, and negative outcomes, 2-3) positive outcomes would be unrelated to alcohol use and positive alcohol outcomes, and 4) positive outcomes would account for unique variance in recent use, controlling for expectancies and negative outcomes. Scale items were developed using inductive and deductive methods. College students (N = 883) and community adults (N = 214) completed a survey measuring marijuana use frequency, positive outcomes, expectancies, and negative consequences. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) tested scale dimensionality and structure in the college sample and community sample. The final factor structure achieved excellent model fit (CFI = .96-.97, RMSEA = .03-.05) and internal consistency (ω = .84-.90). Four factors emerged from the data: Social Enhancement, Mood Enhancement and Relaxation, Perceptual Enhancement, and Sexual Enhancement. Invariance testing supported configural invariance between the two samples. Study hypotheses supporting scale validity were largely upheld. Positive outcomes were positively associated with recent use, controlling for expectancies and negative outcomes. Positive outcomes were also either unassociated or negatively associated with alcohol use, and unassociated or weakly associated with alcohol positive outcomes. Positive outcomes were also differentiated from positive expectancies and more influential in predicting typical use frequency. Findings implicate that positive outcomes are an important factor in explaining recent marijuana use, necessitating the need for future longitudinal use to understand their role in maintained use and dependence. Additionally, positive outcomes can be a target for clinical interventions by informing replacement behaviors or enhancing motivational interviewing techniques.


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scale development
positive consequences


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