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Addict Behav. 2012 Nov;37(11):1294-7. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.06.013. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Cannabis-related impairment and social anxiety: the roles of gender and cannabis use motives.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, 236 Audubon Hall, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.


Social anxiety appears to be especially related to cannabis-related problems, yet the nature of this association remains unclear. Some data suggest that socially anxious men may be especially vulnerable to problematic cannabis use. The current study examined the relations between social anxiety, cannabis use and use-related problems, and motives for cannabis use by gender among 174 (42.5% female) current (past-month) cannabis users. Among men, social anxiety was significantly, positively related to the number of cannabis-related problems and coping and conformity motives. Coping and conformity motives mediated the relation between social anxiety and cannabis-related problems. Among women, social anxiety was significantly related only to social motives, and was unrelated to cannabis-related problems. These findings suggest that socially anxious men may be especially vulnerable to using cannabis as a means of avoidance coping (avoiding scrutiny and negative affect), which may contribute to the high rates of cannabis-related problems among socially anxious individuals.

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