Emotion Regulation Moderates Associations between Discrimination and Cannabis Use Patterns among Sexual Minority Young Adult Women


  • Erin Vogel University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Katelyn Romm University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Carla Berg George Washington University


Background: Sexual minority young adults (SMYAs) experience discrimination and have high cannabis use prevalence. Discrimination may be associated with cannabis use, including hazardous use and co-use with tobacco, depending on emotion regulation and gender. Methods: Fall 2020 survey data assessed discrimination, use frequency of emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression), current cannabis use, hazardous use, and cannabis-tobacco dual use among SMYAs (age 18-34) in 6 United States metropolitan areas (women: n=450, Mage =24.1, SD=4.7, 69.6% bisexual, 18.2% lesbian/gay, 12.2% other; men: n=254, Mage=24.7, SD=4.5, 33.5% bisexual, 54.3% gay, 12.2% other). Multivariable logistic regression examined the moderating roles of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression on associations of discrimination with cannabis use outcomes, stratified by gender and adjusted for age, race and ethnicity, and employment. Results: Among SMYA women, 89.5% experienced any discrimination; 53.1% reported current cannabis use, of whom 49.4% and 47.7% reported hazardous use and cannabis-tobacco dual use, respectively. Adjusting for sociodemographics, experiencing greater discrimination was associated with greater odds of hazardous cannabis use (aOR=1.08, 95% CI [1.02, 1.15]) and cannabis-tobacco dual use (aOR=1.04, 95% CI [1.01, 1.08]) among SMYA women with greater use of expressive suppression. Among SMYA men, 83.9% experienced any discrimination; 49.2% reported current cannabis use, of whom 55.2% and 44.0% reported hazardous use and cannabis-tobacco dual use. Discrimination and emotion regulation were unrelated to cannabis use outcomes among men. Conclusions: Given high rates of discrimination experiences among SMYAs, emotion regulation skills training may empower SMYAs, particularly women, to cope with discrimination without using cannabis.






Original Report