Predicting onset of cannabis use in early adolescence: The interrelation between high-intensity pleasure and disruptive behavior. The TRAILS Study
Background/Aims. Increased knowledge about the mechanisms by which some individuals are at-risk of early onset of cannabis use might contribute to the improvement of prevention efforts. We focus on the roles of early-adolescent high-intensity pleasure, disruptive behavior, and their interplay in the prediction of onset of cannabis use two years later. Methods. Data from 81% (N=1804) of the participants (51.9% girls) of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a prospective general population study in the north of the Netherlands, were analyzed. Measures included parent-reported high-intensity pleasure (Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire; EATQ-R), and parent- and self-reported general disruptive behavior, attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADH), oppositional problems (OP) and conduct problems (CP) (Child Behavior Checklist/6-18 and Youth Self-Report) at age 10-12. Onset of cannabis use was assessed at age 12-14 by means of self-reports. Analyses were carried out in Mplus. Results. Early adolescent high-intensity pleasure and disruptive behavior, mainly CP and to some extent ADH, predicted the onset of cannabis use in adolescence. Although we found some mediation by general disruptive behavior, CP and ADH, the contribution of high-intensity pleasure in predicting the onset of cannabis use was found to be mainly independent from disruptive behavior. Conclusions. The unique contribution of both high-intensity pleasure and disruptive behavior points in the direction of different pathways towards onset of cannabis use.