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Addiction. 2011 Sep;106(9):1667-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03475.x.

Reaching out towards cannabis: approach-bias in heavy cannabis users predicts changes in cannabis use.

Author information

  • 1ADAPT-lab, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. j.cousijn@uva.nl

Erratum in

  • Addiction. 2011 Nov;106(11):2053.

Abstract

AIMS:

Repeated drug exposure can lead to an approach-bias, i.e. the relatively automatically triggered tendencies to approach rather that avoid drug-related stimuli. Our main aim was to study this approach-bias in heavy cannabis users with the newly developed cannabis Approach Avoidance Task (cannabis-AAT) and to investigate the predictive relationship between an approach-bias for cannabis-related materials and levels of cannabis use, craving, and the course of cannabis use.

DESIGN, SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS:

Cross-sectional assessment and six-month follow-up in 32 heavy cannabis users and 39 non-using controls.

MEASUREMENTS:

Approach and avoidance action-tendencies towards cannabis and neutral images were assessed with the cannabis AAT. During the AAT, participants pulled or pushed a joystick in response to image orientation. To generate additional sense of approach or avoidance, pulling the joystick increased picture size while pushing decreased it. Craving was measured pre- and post-test with the multi-factorial Marijuana Craving Questionnaire (MCQ). Cannabis use frequencies and levels of dependence were measured at baseline and after a six-month follow-up.

FINDINGS:

Heavy cannabis users demonstrated an approach-bias for cannabis images, as compared to controls. The approach-bias predicted changes in cannabis use at six-month follow-up. The pre-test MCQ emotionality and expectancy factor were associated negatively with the approach-bias. No effects were found on levels of cannabis dependence.

CONCLUSIONS:

Heavy cannabis users with a strong approach-bias for cannabis are more likely to increase their cannabis use. This approach-bias could be used as a predictor of the course of cannabis use to identify individuals at risk from increasing cannabis use.

© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction.

PMID:
21518067
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3178782
Free PMC Article

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