Induced negative affect’s impact on self-reported cannabis use, expectancies, and problems

doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2023.107652.

Online ahead of print.


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Brianna R Altman et al.

Addict Behav.



Substance use disorders and affective disturbances often covary. Even momentary experiences of negative affect (NA) appear linked with substance use. While strong evidence of these relations exists, NA might bias endorsements of substance use due to hindered recall and reporting processes. This hypothesis warrants further research, as accurate assessment of substance-related variables is crucial in both research and treatment settings. The present study examined the influence of NA on reporting of cannabis variables using an affect-induction paradigm. Over 700 individuals recruited from Amazon’s MTurk participated. After reporting demographics and baseline affect, participants were randomly assigned to either a NA induction or control condition. Follow-up measures assessed post-induction affect and cannabis-related variables. Results revealed that the NA induction task significantly increased NA and decreased positive affect relative to the control condition. Participants assigned to the NA induction reported greater negative cannabis expectancies and more cannabis problems, even after controlling for age and educational attainment. Cannabis use and cannabis problems appeared positively related. Future research should continue to assess for the influence of NA in reporting of cannabis variables. Should subsequent work find differences in reporting of substance use that appear to covary with negative affect, clinicians and researchers alike should be mindful of the implications of potentially biased reporting on assessment, intervention, and research outcomes.


Assessment; Cannabis; Negative affect.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Competing Interest The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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