Cannabis use as a predictor and outcome of positive and negative affect in college students: An ecological momentary assessment study

Sharon R Sznitman, Lukas van Rijswijk, Janna Cousijn

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BACKGROUND: Reinforcement models identify negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA) to be important momentary determinants and outcomes of cannabis use. Sensitization and allostatic models further suggest that these mood-cannabis associations are stronger among individuals with more cannabis-related problems. Despite this theoretical background and the fact that cannabis is commonly used for its mood-enhancing effects among college students, surprisingly, little is known about the momentary associations between mood and cannabis use in this population.

AIMS: To examine the associations between (a) momentary within-person variations in NA (worried, stressed, nervous) and PA (happy, enthusiastic, proud, excited) and intention to use cannabis within the next hour, (b) the within-person variations in time elapsed since last cannabis use, amount used and momentary NA and PA, and (c) to test whether cannabis-related problems moderate the stated associations.

METHOD: Eighty, more-than-weekly, cannabis using students at the University of Amsterdam reported on cannabis use, NA and PA three times daily for 14 consecutive days. Mixed-effects models were performed to analyze the dataset.

RESULTS: Within-persons, relatively high PA and low NA were associated with a higher likelihood of intending to use cannabis. Within-persons, more recent and greater amounts of cannabis use were associated with relatively high PA. More recent cannabis use was associated with relatively low NA. Cannabis-related problems did not moderate the associations.

CONCLUSIONS: While recent cannabis use related to higher PA and lower NA, high PA but low NA preceded use, supporting positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement in this college sample of regular cannabis users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107221
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the respondents who shared their experiences through taking part in the survey. Nothing declared. S.R. Sznitman conceived and supervised the study, led the writing and the analyses. L. van Rijswijk collected the data and contributed to the writing up of results. J. Cousijn conceived of the study and contributed to writing up the results.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


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