Online Program

Correlates and predictors of marijuana use among US undergraduates

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Barbara Barton, PhD RN CHES, Health Department, State University of New York, College at Cortland, Cortland, NY
Sandra Bulmer, PhD, Department of Public Health, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
Leann Misencik, B.S., School of Health and Human Services, Southern Connecticut State University, Shelton, CT
Background:During the last decade, marijuana use has steadily increased among undergraduates, which places these students at greater risk for health and social problems that have serious long-term implications, including depression, anxiety, decreased academic performance, risky sexual behaviors, violence and dependence. For college health educators to effectively assess (Area I) and plan (Area II) interventions to reduce marijuana use, it is essential to identify and understand those who are at most risk.             

Framework: Recognizing the multi-dimensionality of marijuana use in undergraduates, this research embraced a social-ecological framework, which allowed for the examination of factors at multiple levels of influence.  

Hypothesis: Null hypothesis was that no relationships existed with marijuana use during the past 30 days.

Methods: Stratified random sampling was used to select undergraduate courses during spring semester 2014 at a mid-sized, urban, public 4-year university in the Northeast. Data were collected from 1,225 undergraduates during regularly scheduled classes using the CORE Alcohol and Drug Survey. Chi-square analysis and bivariate logistic regression was used to determine associations and predictors.  

Results: Annual prevalence of marijuana use was 48.6%. Over 30.2% reported using on at least 1 of the past 30 days and 3.6% reported using daily. Of those who used, 65% starting using before age 18, with 6% starting before age 15. Male sex and age were the strongest predictors. Being taken advantage of sexually, not using condoms, binge drinking, poor exam performance, missing class and getting hurt or injured were strong correlates of marijuana use within the past 30 days.

Conclusion: Prevalence of marijuana use remains high, especially among males and those over 21, and is associated with serious negative consequences.

Implications: To effectively address the health needs of future generations, opportunities to synergistically address marijuana use, binge drinking, cigarette smoking and sexual violence among undergraduates need to be explored.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe important correlates and predictors of marijuana use among undergraduates Explain the implications of these research findings for health promotion

Keyword(s): College Students, Drug Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Sandra Bulmer, PhD is the Interim Dean of the School of Health and Human Services at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), where she has worked since 1999. She was previously a professor in the Department of Public Health. Dr. Bulmer’s research is focused on college health and women’s health, using community-based participatory research methods. She is the current President for the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.