Emotion Regulation and Coping Motives Serially Affect Cannabis Cessation Problems Among Dually Diagnosed Outpatients

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Abstract

Little empirical work has evaluated why anxious cannabis users are especially vulnerable to poorer cannabis cessation outcomes. Presumably, these individuals rely on cannabis because they have difficulties with emotion regulation and they therefore use cannabis to manage their negative emotions. The current study examined the direct and indirect effects of anxiety severity on a range of cannabis cessation variables among 79 (63.3% non-Hispanic White; 43.0% female) adults with anxiety disorders seeking outpatient treatment for cannabis use disorder. The independent and serial indirect effects of difficulties with emotion regulation and coping motives were examined in relation to the anxiety-cannabis variables. Anxiety severity was directly and robustly related to greater cannabis withdrawal symptom severity, less self-efficacy to refrain from using cannabis in emotionally distressing situations, and more reasons for quitting. Anxiety was indirectly related to cannabis outcomes via the serial effects of emotion regulation and coping motives. These findings document the important role of emotion regulation and coping motives in the relations of anxiety with cannabis cessation variables among dually diagnosed outpatients.

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