Abstract: Who Is at Risk?: Examination of Alcohol and Marijuana Use and Perceived Norms By Young Adult Education Status (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

52 Who Is at Risk?: Examination of Alcohol and Marijuana Use and Perceived Norms By Young Adult Education Status

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Devon Abdallah, PhD, Research Scientist, University of Washington, Seatte, WA
Christine M. Lee, PhD, Research Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Rose Lyles-Riebli, BA, Research Assistant, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Purpose: Simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana (SAM) has been shown to be associated with increased risks and consequences compared to alcohol or marijuana used alone or when they are both used but not at the same time. To inform prevention strategies, it is important to examine who may be at greater risk of SAM use. The present study examines differences in perceived norms and alcohol and marijuana use and consequences among young adults who engage in SAM use, concurrent alcohol and marijuana (CAM) use, alcohol-only use, and no substance use, as well as potential impact of various education statuses.

Method: Participants were 565 young adults (age 18-24, M age = 20.46, SD= 1.7; 53.3% women): non-students without a 4-year degree (n=61), trade and vocational school, 2-year community college (n=140), 4-year college students (n=285), and non-students with a 4-year degree (n=79) who reported drinking alcohol at least 1 time in the past year and were recruited as part of a larger longitudinal study on social roles and health behaviors.

Results: In the past 30 days, 23.4% of participants reported no use, 40.2% reported only alcohol use, 26% SAM use and 10.4% CAM use. Two-way ANCOVAs, controlling for age and biological sex, were conducted. Overall, SAM users drank more often and had more alcohol related consequences, were high from marijuana longer and had more marijuana related consequences than all other groups. On average, SAM users believed their peers drank more and were high longer in a typical week. Two-year students drank less frequently in the past month than other educational groups but had higher marijuana use peer norms than 4-year students and degreed non-students. Non-students reported being high longer in a typical week than 4-year students and degreed non-students and had more marijuana consequences than degreed non-students. Interactions were found suggesting among 4-year students, the number of alcoholic beverages per week is higher and heavy episodic drinking (HED) more frequent for those who engaged in SAM use in the past month compared to other groups. No significant interactions between educational status and substance use categories were found for norms, alcohol consequences, drinking frequency, marijuana use or marijuana consequences.

Conclusions: Overall, in this community sample of young adults, SAM use is associated with risky behavior especially amongst 4-year college students. In light of these findings, college campuses should consider targeted messages regarding SAM use. Targeted efforts to reach young adults not attending 4-year colleges are warranted due to the high rates of a marijuana use amongst this group. These populations are understudied and often overlooked.