Motives for simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use among young adults

Megan E. Patrick, Anne M. Fairlie, Christine M. Lee

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74 Scopus citations


The majority of young adults who use alcohol and marijuana sometimes use the two substances simultaneously. Understanding why young adults engage in simultaneous alcohol and marijuana (SAM) use may inform interventions and help offset negative consequences. To date, research has not yet examined motives for SAM use. The current study tested a 26-item measure of motives for SAM use in a community sample of young adults to identify the factor structure and to evaluate associations of subscales of SAM motives with alcohol and marijuana motives and substance use. Young adults from the Seattle metropolitan area (N = 286; 58% female, 67% White/Caucasian) were asked about their motives for using alcohol, marijuana, and SAM as well as their use of alcohol and marijuana and related consequences in the past month. Exploratory factor analysis with promax rotation identified four factors to characterize motives for SAM use: (1) conformity (8 items, α = 0.87, e.g., “to fit in with a group I like,” “pressure from others”), (2) positive effects (6 items, α = 0.88, e.g., “cross-faded effects are better,” “to get a better high”) (3) calm/coping (3 items, α = 0.77, e.g., “to calm me down,” “to cope with anxiety”), and (4) social (5 items, α = 0.78, e.g., “because it is customary on special occasions,” “as a way to celebrate”). Results revealed that alcohol, marijuana, and SAM motives were moderately correlated. Even after controlling for alcohol or marijuana motives, SAM motives were associated with SAM use and marijuana use/consequences (but not alcohol use/consequences).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-369
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection and manuscript preparation were supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism ( R01AA022087 to C. Lee; R01AA025037 to C. Lee & M. Patrick). The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


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