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Front Psychol. 2018 Nov 16;9:2135. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02135. eCollection 2018.

Marijuana Use and Depressive Symptoms; Gender Differences in African American Adolescents.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.
Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.


Introduction: This study aimed to examine gender differences in the bidirectional associations between marijuana use and depressive symptoms among African American adolescents. The study also tested gender differences in the effects of socioeconomic status, maternal support, and friends' drug use on adolescents' depressive symptoms and marijuana use. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of the Flint Adolescent Study (FAS). Six hundred and eighty one African American adolescents (335 males and 346 females) were followed for 3 years, from 1995 (mean age 16) to 1997 (mean age 19). Depressive symptoms (Brief Symptom Inventory) and marijuana use were measured annually during the follow up. We used multi-group latent growth curve modeling to explore the reciprocal associations between depressive symptoms and marijuana use over time based on gender. Results: Baseline marijuana use was predictive of an increase in depressive symptoms over time among male but not female African American adolescents. Baseline depressive symptoms were not predictive of an increase in marijuana use among male or female adolescents. Conclusion: Study findings suggest that male African American adolescents who use marijuana are at an increased risk of subsequent depressive symptoms. Interventions that combine screening and treatment for marijuana use and depression may be indicated for African American male adolescents.


African American; adolescents; depression; gender; marijuana use

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