BACKGROUND: Cross-national differences could affect the likelihood of endorsement of DSM cannabis abuse and dependence criteria. The present study examines whether cannabis abuse and dependence criteria function differently across U.S. and Dutch cannabis users. METHOD: Data on lifetime endorsement of DSM-IV cannabis abuse/dependence criteria were utilized from U.S. cannabis users who participated in the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and from Dutch cannabis users who participated in the Zuid-Holland study. In total, 1,568 cannabis users participated in the NESARC sample, and 359 cannabis users participated in the Zuid-Holland sample. The DSM-IV cannabis abuse/dependence criteria as well as cannabis withdrawal were determined using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. RESULTS: Using Restricted Factor Analysis with Latent Moderated Structures, the cannabis abuse/dependence criteria legal problems (β = -0.43), failed quit attempts (β = -1.09), use despite problems (β = -0.32), and withdrawal (β = -0.53) showed measurement bias, and were more likely to be endorsed by U.S. than by Dutch cannabis users. Also, men were more likely than women to endorse the criteria hazardous use (β = -0.27), legal problems (β = -0.49) and tolerance (β = -0.20). Findings on failed quit attempts and withdrawal were replicated in matched subsamples, while results on legal problems (country and gender) were partly replicated. CONCLUSIONS: Several CUD criteria showed measurement bias across two countries and between males and females. Therefore, differences between countries and gender in prevalence rates of CUD should be regarded with caution
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