Title

Perceived Racial and Social Class Discrimination and Cannabis Involvement among Black Youth and Young Adults

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2022

Description

Background: The current study examines the association of perceived racial and social class discrimination with cannabis involvement among Black youth and young adults.

Methods: This secondary analysis used data from the Missouri Family Study (MOFAM), a high-risk longitudinal family study of alcohol use disorder, oversampled for Black families. Offspring (n = 806) and their mothers were interviewed by telephone. Cox proportional hazards regression analyzes were used to examine associations of racial and social class discrimination (experienced by offspring and their mothers) with offspring cannabis involvement. Two stages of cannabis involvement were analyzed: timing of 1) initiation and 2) transition from initiation to first cannabis use disorder (CUD) symptom. Results: The study found that offspring report of experiencing racial (HR: 1.28, CI: 1.01–1.62) and social class discrimination (HR: 1.45, CI: 1.14–1.84) were associated with cannabis initiation in our fully adjusted model. Mothers’ report of discrimination predicted a lower hazard of cannabis initiation among offspring (HR: 0.79, CI: 0.64–0.98). Offspring social class discrimination (HR: 2.45, CI: 1.71–3.51) predicted an increased hazard of transition from initiation to first CUD symptom, while offspring racial discrimination (HR: 0.57, CI: 0.39–0.85) was associated with lower hazard of transition in our fully adjusted model.

Conclusions: As rates for cannabis use among Black youth are disproportionately rising, there is a critical need to identify pathways to its use among Black youth. These findings suggest racial and social class discrimination may be important targets in efforts to prevent cannabis involvement among Black youth and emerging adults.

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