Longitudinal Associations Between Marijuana-Related Cognitions and Marijuana Use in African-American and European-American Girls From Early to Late Adolescence

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This study examined marijuana-related cognitions and marijuana use in African-American (AA) and European-American (EA) girls, with the aim of characterizing their interrelationships from early to late adolescence. Identifying differences by race in these relationships would have implications for tailoring interventions to specific subgroups. Data were drawn from the Pittsburgh Girls Study, an urban community sample (56.8% AA, 43.2% EA; n = 2,172) recruited at ages 5–8 years and assessed each year. Cross-lagged panel models were conducted separately by race to identify patterns of association between marijuana use and related cognitions (i.e., intentions to use, positive attitude toward use, positive and negative expectancies) assessed at ages 12–17 years. Results indicated that AA girls consistently reported higher negative expectancies than EA girls and greater intention to use marijuana, but they did not differ from EA girls on positive expectancies. In cross-lagged models, bidirectional effects between negative expectancies and marijuana use were observed in AA and EA girls across all ages, and at most ages for intentions to use, but were largely absent in both groups for positive attitude. Bidirectional effects of marijuana use with positive expectancies were observed only in AA girls at certain ages. Overall, results demonstrate more similarities than differences between AA and EA girls in the longitudinal associations between marijuana-related cognitions and marijuana use. Results highlight the role of negative expectancies as shaping and being shaped by marijuana use. Interventions that target negative expectancies to reduce marijuana use may be useful for AA and EA adolescent girls.

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