Socioeconomic status and risk perceptions of cannabis: Assessing the role of race
Gette, Jordan Ann
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Rates of cannabis use are on the rise, particularly in emerging adults. Individuals’ risk perceptions of cannabis use have been related to use behaviors (e.g. frequency of use). Additionally, previous research has attempted to understand the role of socioeconomic status (SES) as it relates to substance use behaviors. Examination of the extant literature has found mixed findings on this relation which may be due to inconsistent measurement of SES. Further, differences in racial identity may impact the ways in which risk perceptions and SES function in relation to cannabis use behaviors. The present study aimed to understand factors that predict the likelihood of having used cannabis in the lifetime as well as past month use among those endorsing lifetime use. Participants (N = 211, 23.69% Hispanic) were recruited from a large southern university. Individuals completed survey measures related to demographic information SES, cannabis use behaviors, and risk perceptions of cannabis use. Results of this study found significant relations between risk perceptions and cannabis use outcomes that appear to be consistent across white and Hispanic individuals. Differential patterns for the relation between measures of SES and cannabis use emerged as a function of race. Finally, this study suggests that measurement of SES (objective versus subjective measures) can impact conclusions regarding the relation between SES and cannabis outcomes. This study adds to the extant literature by suggesting key measurement and analytic considerations as well as implications of individual differences in targeting both prevention and treatment efforts related to cannabis use.