Sex and Age Differences in Risk Factors of Marijuana Involvement during Adolescence

Lian Yu Chen, Silvia S. Martins, Eric C. Strain, Ramin Mojtabai, Carla L. Storr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: We aimed to examine whether there are sex and age differences in psychosocial risk factors of marijuana use during adolescence. Methods: Data were drawn from 57,767 adolescents (8th and 10th graders) from the 2012 to 2013 monitoring the future study. We examined the association between sociodemographic and behavioral correlates with different frequencies of past-year marijuana use (nonuse, occasional use: <10 time, frequent use: 10 to 39 times, and regular use: 40+ times). We further investigated whether these associations were similar for boys and girls of different ages. Results: Overall, 20.6% of the adolescents reported past-year marijuana use: 12.1% occasional use, 4.3% frequent use, and 3.8% regular use. Girls were less likely to be frequent and regular marijuana users [frequent use: odds ratio=0.83 (0.75, 0.93); regular use: odds ratio=0.41 (0.36, 0.48)] whereas no sex difference was noted for occasional use. Also, the odds of deviant behaviors were higher as the frequencies of marijuana use were higher. Compared to younger girls, older boys and girls had higher association between all levels of marijuana use and low self-esteem, low perceived harm, peer influence and perceived easy access. Besides, younger boys were more likely than younger girls to report an association between regular marijuana use with low self-esteem, peer influence, and perceived easy access but not with perceived low harm. Conclusions/Importance: Findings suggest the relationship between these psychosocial correlates and frequency of marijuana involvement varies across sex and age groups. These variations ask for a nuanced approach to prevention of marijuana involvement in different groups of youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • age difference
  • marijuana use
  • prevention
  • problem behaviors
  • sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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