University of Twente Student Theses


A career-approach to cannabis consumption among university students : identifying differentials between stages of use

Solinski, S. (2009) A career-approach to cannabis consumption among university students : identifying differentials between stages of use.

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Abstract:Much of previous research on cannabis use treated the drug as universally dangerous and often focused on general risk factors that contribute to become a cannabis user. The present survey study rather emanated from a dose-response relation and attempted to identify differentials between different types of consumers using a sequential “career approach” (inspired by Howard S. Becker) based on the frequency of cannabis use. The scores on a number of demographic, behavioral and social-cognitive constructs (partly taken from the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Prototype Willingness Model) of 114 university students who were divided into stages of cannabis use (“occasional user”, “regular user”, “heavy user” and “ex-consumer”) were cross-sectionally compared with each other. The results showed a clear relation between the current level of frequency of cannabis use and the length of experience with cannabis use. No relation was found between the frequency and the intensity of cannabis use per intake. Men emerged as being more frequent cannabis users than women. Early-onset users had a higher frequency and intensity of cannabis use than late-onset users. Results concerning the social-cognitive constructs indicated that ex-consumers differed from all active user-groups in several points, including perceiving more control over cannabis use, having a less positive attitude towards its use and having fewer friends who use it. Surprisingly, ex-consumers rated themselves to be more similar to their image of a typical cannabis user than regular or heavy users. Moreover, heavy users identified more with being a cannabis user and had a higher willingness to and a lower perceived control over cannabis use in pertinent situations than occasional users. For regular users moral norm was predictive of the intention to stop cannabis use and prototype-favourability predicted the willingness to use it in a characteristic situation. For heavy users only attitude emerged as a significant predictor of the intention to stop cannabis use. All in all, the findings in this study offer insights for an improved understanding of cannabis use among students and emphasize the importance of taking the differences between more and less frequent types of cannabis users into account. It would be a promising endeavor to expand research in the area of stage approaches to cannabis use, especially in service of an improved design of tailored harm-reduction intervention programs that might help to handle problematic cannabis use or prevent negative health outcomes as a consequence of the transition to a harmful pattern of cannabis use
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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