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.

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.