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Cannabis Use Expectancies Mediate the Relation Between Depressive Symptoms and Cannabis Use Among Cannabis-Dependent Veterans

Farris, Samantha G. MA; Zvolensky, Michael J. PhD; Boden, Matthew Tyler PhD; Bonn-Miller, Marcel O. PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000010
Original Research

Objectives: The current study examined the cross-sectional associations between depressive symptoms and cannabis use, and the mediating role of positive and negative expectancies of cannabis use.

Methods: Participants (n = 100) were cannabis-dependent veterans recruited as part of a larger self-guided cannabis quit study. Baseline (prequit) data were used. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the General Depression subscale of the Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms (IDAS), and cannabis use expectancies were assessed using the Marijuana Effect Expectancies Questionnaire. Quantity of cannabis use in the past 90 days was assessed with the Timeline Follow-Back.

Results: A parallel multiple mediation path analysis was conducted to simultaneously examine the effects of positive and negative expectancies as mediators of the relation between IDAS-Depression and prequit cannabis use. Results indicated that depressive symptoms were indirectly related to cannabis use through positive, but not negative, expectancies. This effect was unique to IDAS-Dysphoria symptoms.

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms, particularly cognitive-affective symptom features, may be important to consider in better understanding positive cannabis effect expectancies among veterans in regard to cannabis use.

From the Department of Psychology (SGF, MJZ), University of Houston, Houston, TX; Department of Behavioral Sciences (MJZ), University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; Center for Health Care Evaluation (MTB, MOBM), VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA; Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (MOBM), Philadelphia VAMC National Center for PTSD, Philadelphia, PA; and Department of Psychiatry (MOBM), University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD, 795 Willow Rd (152-MPD), Menlo Park, CA 94025. E-mail:

Supported by a Veterans Administration Clinical Science Research and Development Career Development Award–2, awarded to Dr Marcel O. Bonn-Miller. Ms Farris was supported by a cancer prevention fellowship through the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, funded by the National Cancer Institute grant (R25T-CA057730).

The funding source had no role other than financial support. The content does not necessarily represent the official views of the Veterans Affairs, National Cancer Institute, or the National Institutes of Health.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received May 07, 2013

Accepted November 04, 2013

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine