Social anxiety, cannabis use motives, and social context’s impact on willingness to use cannabis

Elise Garrison, Conor Gilligan, Benjamin O. Ladd, Kristen G. Anderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Social anxiety is often purported to be a risk factor for increased cannabis use. Cannabis use motives are strong explanatory predictors of cannabis use embedded within social contexts. This investigation explored the impact of social anxiety, cannabis motives, and their interaction on willingness to use cannabis in a community sample of emerging adults. Social anxiety was anticipated to positively correlate with coping and conformity motives and greater willingness to use cannabis in peer social contexts. Motives to use were hypothesized to potentiate social anxiety’s influence on cannabis use decision-making. In total, 124 participants completed an audio simulation of social cannabis use contexts (Can-SIDE) and standard measures of social anxiety (SIAS) and use motives (MMM). Contrary to expectations, social anxiety exerted a protective effect on willingness to use cannabis, but only when conformity, social, and expansion motives were at or below average. These effects varied by social contexts of use. Social anxiety leading to increased cannabis use may be most apparent in clinical samples and in high-risk cannabis users, but this pattern was not supported in this sample of community living emerging adults below clinical cutoffs for cannabis use disorder with relatively high social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4882
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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