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Addict Behav. 2019 Feb;89:236-239. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.038. Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Resilience against marijuana use initiation in low-income African American youth.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, United States. Electronic address:
Virginia Commonwealth University, United States. Electronic address:



Recent increases in marijuana use among adolescents, in concert with decreases in perceptions of harm caused by marijuana use, documented associations of marijuana use with health problems and academic disengagement, and the increase in cannabis potency over the past two decades highlight the need for effective prevention and intervention efforts to delay and/or curb marijuana use among adolescents. The present study investigated the role of four promotive factors in the role of abstinence from marijuana use initiation.


Low-income, urban, African American youth (N = 302; 54.6% female; M age = 12.05 years, SD = 1.57 years, Range = 10 to 16) participating in a larger study of stress and coping who had not initiated marijuana use at baseline were included in the sample. Goal directedness, emotion regulation, perceived support from mother, and religious coping, assessed at baseline, were evaluated for their contributions to marijuana use initiation two years later."


By time 3, 14.7% of the sample reported having initiated marijuana use. Univariate analyses indicated that abstainers were younger, better able to regulate their emotions, and marginally more likely to use religious coping. Logistic regression analysis was used to develop a best-fitting model describing abstinence from marijuana use; this model revealed age and emotion regulation as unique contributors to abstinence.


Emotion regulation is a teachable skill, and is included in many school-based prevention and parenting programs. Recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of self-regulation interventions in African American youth are discussed.


Adolescents; Emotion regulation; Initiation; Marijuana; Promotive factors

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