Motives for Alcohol and Marijuana Use as Predictors of Use and Problem Use Among College Students in Georgia Open Access

Patterson, Akilah (Spring 2019)

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Objectives: Due to the high prevalence of alcohol and marijuana use on US college campuses, it is important to better understand what motivates students to use alcohol and marijuana and the various factors associated with use behaviors and problem use behaviors. Furthermore, more research is needed in understanding differences in substance use behaviors among alcohol only users and alcohol and marijuana co-users. 

Methods: The current study is a secondary data analysis of an online six-wave survey that began in the Fall of 2014 and was administered to six Georgia colleges and universities. Overall, 3,574 participants enrolled in the study (with a confirmation rate of 95.6% (n=3,418) yielding a response rate of 22.9%. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess alcohol and marijuana use behaviors. 

Results: The average number of days of alcohol use in the past 4 months among the sample was 15.33 (SD=18.68)and the average number of days of marijuana use in the past 4 months was 29.81 (SD=39.03). Significant differences were found between alcohol only users and alcohol marijuana co-users including sociodemographic factors, psychosocial factors, substance use behaviors and problem substance use behaviors (p’s<.05). After controlling for sociodemographic and psychosocial factors, higher number of days of marijuana use, higher alcohol use Coping motives, higher Self-enhancement motives, and lower Conformity motives were associated with higher number of days of alcohol use (p’s<.001). Furthermore, higher Coping motives and higher Self-enhancement motives were associated with problem alcohol use (p’s<.05). Additionally, higher marijuana use Coping motives was associated with higher number of days of marijuana use, and higher Expansion motives was associated with both higher number of days of marijuana use and problem marijuana use (p’s<.05). 

Conclusions: Addressing Coping and Self-enhancement motives may be particularly critical in intervention efforts aimed at reducing alcohol use related risks, while addressing Expansion motives may be critical in reducing marijuana use related risks.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction p. 7

II. Literature review p. 8

III. Methods p. 14

IV. Results p. 19

V. Discussion p. 21

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