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Social Context of Cannabis Use: Associations with Problematic Use, Motives for Use, and Protective Behavioral Strategies among Sexual Minorities Assigned Female at Birth

Dyar C, Feinstein BA, Crosby S, Newcomb ME, Whitton SW

Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health

Sexual and gender minorities assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB) are at heightened risk for problematic cannabis use compared to heterosexual cisgender women. Despite evidence that social context influences patterns of substance use, no known studies have examined context of cannabis use among SGM-AFAB. The current study examined two aspects of social contexts of cannabis use (locations and companions) and their associations with problematic use, motives for use, and protective behavioral strategies among SGM-AFAB. We utilized three waves of data from 358 SGM-AFAB from a larger study. We aimed to: (1) identify subgroups of SGM-AFAB based on contexts in which they used cannabis; (2) examine changes in contexts over time; and (3) examine associations between contexts, problematic use, motives for use, and protective behavioral strategies. Using latent class analysis, we identified four classes: those who used cannabis at home; those who used with friends; those who used alone and with friends; and those who used in all contexts. Those who used in all contexts reported more problematic use, higher coping motives, and used fewer protective behavioral strategies compared to other classes. Transitioning to using cannabis in fewer contexts was associated with a subsequent decrease in problematic use. Classes that were most stable over time (using in all contexts or alone and with friends) were also those that were associated with more problematic use. Social context has important implications for problematic cannabis use among SGM-AFAB. As such, interventions may benefit from attending to social context to reduce problematic use in this population.

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