Cannabis use and antisocial behavior among youth

Ioana Popovici, Michael T. French, Rosalie L. Pacula, Johanna C. Maclean, Olena Antonaccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Despite the numerous efforts to curb substance use and abuse through legislation and interventions, marijuana consumption continues to be a major social problem, particularly among young adults in the United States. We provide new information on the relationship between cannabis use and antisocial behavior by analyzing a sample of young adults (aged 18-20) from the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). We examine a broad set of cannabis use patterns and multiple dimensions of antisocial behaviors and test the empirical importance of two prominent criminological theories-general strain and social bond-in explaining associations between cannabis use and antisocial behavior. We include important socioeconomic, demographic, health and health behaviors, and contextual information in all regressions to control for confounding factors. Our results imply that cannabis use is positively and significantly related to antisocial behavior among young adults, and general strain and social bond theories cannot fully explain our findings. As expected, the estimated association with antisocial behavior is stronger for more frequent cannabis users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-162
Number of pages32
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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