Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
https://trends.org.br/article/doi/10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0269
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Tell me who your friends are?! The mediating role of friends’ use in cannabis abuse

Paulo C. Dias, Sílvia Lopes, José Antonio García del Castillo

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Abstract

Objectives
To evaluate the relationship between age at onset of cannabis use and cannabis abuse in a sample of Portuguese cannabis users, testing the mediating role of the number of friends using cannabis and comparing these relationships between male and female subsets.

Method
A sample of 529 Portuguese cannabis users comprising 276 males and 244 females aged from 14 to 21 years completed a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST), and answered four questions related to cannabis use. Data were analyzed using the PROCESS macro in SPSS version 26.0.

Results
Age at onset of cannabis use was negatively related to the number of friends using cannabis, while the number of friends using cannabis had a positive relationship with cannabis abuse. As predicted, the number of friends using cannabis seems to have a mediating role in the relationship between cannabis onset age use and cannabis abuse, since the indirect effect was found to be significant. The pattern of the relationships among the variables observed was found to be similar for both male and female subsets of the sample. However, males reported higher cannabis abuse than females.

Conclusion
The results highlight the mediating role of friends’ use of cannabis in the relationship between age at onset of cannabis use and users’ abuse. These results highlight the importance of early intervention in cannabis use. In particular, the pattern of the relationships observed among the studied variables emphasizes the need to monitor and conduct peer training interventions or interventions to promote of social skills.

Keywords

Cannabis abuse, onset age, friends using cannabis, mediation

Submitted date:
03/21/2021

Accepted date:
11/21/2022

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