Clinical Edge

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Cannabis/Alcohol Use Among Rural Black Adolescents

Addiction; ePub 2018 Mar 30; Barton, Brody, et al

Rural African American youth's cannabis use and heavy drinking across adolescence and young adulthood demonstrate distinct developmental courses, a recent study found, and a small number of risk factors and measures of biological and perceived stress differentiate class membership prognostically. Participants (n=518) were assessed for cannabis use and heavy drinking at 7 assessments beginning at age 16 and continuing to age 25. At age 19, participants provided overnight urine voids that were assayed for catecholamines, a biological marker of life stress resulting from sympathetic nervous system activation. At ages 16 and 19, participants provided information on malleable psychosocial risk factors. Researchers found:

  • Latent class growth models revealed 3 distinct trajectory classes for cannabis use and for heavy drinking.
  • Higher levels of circulating stress hormones and perceived stress were associated with classes reporting greater substance use over time.
  • A composite of selected risk factors discriminated class membership.
  • Trajectory classes characterized by rapid usage increases in early adulthood exhibited the greatest increase in deviant peer affiliations between the ages 16 and 19.
Citation:

Barton AW, Brody GH, Zapolski TCB, et al. Trajectory classes of cannabis use and heavy drinking among rural African American adolescents: Multiā€level predictors of class membership. [Published online ahead of print March 30, 2018]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.14200.