Identifier

etd-06132016-123923

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Cannabis-related problems are major public health concerns. Social anxiety appears to be a unique risk factor that contributes to the development of cannabis-related problems, including cannabis use disorders. Given this risk, identification of cognitive vulnerabilities that may contribute to the onset and maintenance of co-occurring social anxiety and cannabis-related problems remains an important research goal. Socially anxious individuals experience anxiety and negative affect in response to cognitively reviewing past social situations (i.e., post-event processing [PEP]) and are likely to use cannabis to cope with negative affective states, which may occur during PEP. Thus, PEP may be one cognitive vulnerability factor that contributes to the onset and maintenance of cannabis use and related problems. The current study sought to identify the influence of PEP on cannabis craving and use. Current (past three-month) cannabis-using undergraduates (N = 158) completed an online battery of self-report measures and were randomized to one of three conditions: (1) negative PEP, (2) positive PEP, or (3) control task. Participants provided ratings of cannabis craving before and after the task and completed measures of cannabis use one week later to examine if experimentally manipulated PEP influenced cannabis use and cannabis-related problem severity. Experimentally induced PEP was not related to subsequent cannabis craving, use, or use-related problems one week later, nor did PEP interact with social anxiety to predict cannabis outcomes at follow-up. However, at baseline, PEP mediated the relationship between social anxiety and cannabis-related problem severity, suggesting that the tendency to engage in PEP is a mechanism through which social anxiety influences cannabis-related problems. PEP may be a target of treatment and prevention efforts that address co-occurring social anxiety and cannabis-related problems.

Date

2016

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Buckner, Julia

Included in

Psychology Commons

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