Changing patterns in marijuana use among high school seniors : latent modeling of time-series cross-sections (1976 – 2013).


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Public support for the legalization of marijuana is on the rise. As states are increasingly passing legislation decriminalizing marijuana possession and consumption, a great deal of research is needed to inform policy-makers of the patterns and implications of use. In this project, I work to describe the patterns of perception and use among adolescent marijuana users, especially in light of this cultural shift over time, by providing a framework by which researchers might better understand the social contexts of marijuana use and, by extension, may be better equipped to examine the long-term implications of widespread use. Data for this project come from the Monitoring the Future study, a series of national random samples of US High School Seniors collected as time series cross sections since 1976. Utilizing Confirmatory Factor Analysis and latent mixture modeling techniques I create a framework to typify adolescent marijuana users into two latent constructs, ‘Individualist’ and ‘Communal’ users. Using this framework, I track identification within these categories over time and examine the behavioral implications of this identification, vis-à-vis gateway drug use.



Latent variable methods. Confirmatory factor analysis. CFA. Marijuana. Adolescent drug use. US high school students. Sociology.