Measuring Cannabis Reinforcement among Young Adults: A Mixed Methods Examination
Introduction: Increasing reinforcement received from cannabis-free activities, relative to reinforcement from cannabis-related activities, is one way to reduce harmful cannabis use. Thus, accurate measurement of cannabis reinforcement is important. Using convergent mixed methods, we developed the Adolescent Reinforcement Survey Schedule-Cannabis Use Version (ARSS-CUV). ARSS-CUV, adapted from the alcohol use version, measures cannabis reinforcement by asking individuals how frequently they engaged in, and how much they enjoyed, different activities when using and not using cannabis. Method: Young adults (N = 65; Mage = 20.4 years [SD = 1.8]) completed measures of cannabis use, the ARSS-CUV, and provided feedback on included activities, via focus groups. Following Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing framework, this study examined evidence of measurement validity based on item content. Results: Quantitative findings revealed that peer interactions were the most reinforcing activities, whereas activities related to family were least reinforcing. Qualitative findings indicated some confusion with question wording. Participants also indicated the importance of environmental context when using cannabis and noted who they use cannabis with may be more important than the activity they are doing. Changes were made to survey flow and response choices after participant feedback. Conclusions: ARSS-CUV includes revisions in activities solicited and response format. The revised ARSS-CUV provides opportunities to advance measurement of an important construct (i.e., reinforcement) in the study of cannabis use. Psychometric properties of the ARSS-CUV across different populations and contexts of use (e.g., polysubstance use) should be examined.
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