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Cannabis use amongst higher education students: A normal behaviour?

By P.N. Murphy, K. Grime, A. McCulloch, Shirley J. Pressler and L. Sumner


Objective: To explore the use of cannabis amongst higher education students, and its relationship to other substance use, locus of control, demographic, and sociopolitical variables. Design: Structured interview study. Method: The interview schedule included measures of substance use, demographic variables, locus of control (internal, chance, and powerful others), and sociopolitical attitudes. The 353 participants (264 female, 89 male) were attending courses at a higher education college, and were aged between 18 and 30 years (M=21.2 years, SD=3.0 years). Analysis: The 197 cannabis users were significantly older than the non-users. However, cannabis use status showed no association with gender, current living circumstances, self perceived social class, and the perceived effectiveness of voting. Cannabis users had used significantly more illegal substances than nonusers, rated the dangers from cannabis as significantly lower than non-users, and favoured the legalisation of cannabis to a significantly greater extent than non-users. Duration of cannabis use showed a negative correlation approaching significance with danger ratings for the drug. Age of first cannabis use was highly negatively correlated with duration of its use, but showed no association with gender; self perceived social class, or danger ratings. Regression analyses with locus of control measures showed no relationship to the use of cannabis or other drugs. Conclusions: These preliminary results show that differences between cannabis users and non-users amongst higher education students may be mostly limited to variables related to illegal drug use. With the exception of age, demographic and sociopolitical variables failed to distinguish between users and non-users

Topics: HN, LB2300
Publisher: The British Psychological Society
Year: 2004
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