Contextualizing Cannabis Implicit Associations: Consideration of Peers and Personality


Objective:

Implicit cannabis associations (ICAs) inconsistently predict cannabis use (CU), and little is known about their formation. Personality, behavioral approach and inhibition, were tested as predictors of ICAs, which in turn, was expected to predict CU (mediation). Peer context was tested as a moderator.


Method:

Data were taken from three annual assessments of a larger longitudinal study. The community sample (314 emerging adults, mean age = 19.13, 54% female, 76% White/non-Hispanic at the first assessment) completed an ICA task and questionnaire assessments of CU, personality, and peer norms.


Results:

ICAs were positively associated with CU at high but not low levels of perceived peer approval/use. Behavioral inhibition was negatively associated ICAs, which in turn, predicted infrequent CU at high levels of peer approval/use (moderated mediation). Behavioral approach was marginally associated with ICAs.


Conclusions:

Peer context and personality are important for understanding the formation of ICAs and their association with CU.


Keywords:

IAT; cannabis; implicit association task; marijuana; peer approval and use; peer context; peer norms; personality; reinforcement sensitivity.

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