Identifying adolescent protective factors that disrupt the intergenerational transmission of cannabis use and disorder.

W. Andrew Rothenberg, Ariel Sternberg, Austin Blake, Jack Waddell, Laurie Chassin, Andrea Hussong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Adolescent cannabis use is common, has been associated with several deleterious outcomes, and is often associated with previous parent cannabis use. Therefore, identifying protective factors that prevent this intergenerational transmission of cannabis use is increasingly important given shifting contemporary policies around cannabis use. The present study examines 3 protective factors in adolescence (active coping, positive activity involvement, and school grades) that may disrupt patterns of intergenerational cannabis use. The present study uses data from a high-risk longitudinal sample followed for over 30 years that includes Generation 1 (G1) parents (54.19% with lifetime alcohol use disorder, 8.15% with lifetime cannabis use disorder), their Generation 2 (G2) children, and their Generation 3 (G3) grandchildren and therefore provides the opportunity to replicate effects across 2 intergenerational cohorts (a G1–G2 cohort and a G2–G3 cohort). Results from ordered logistic regression models reveal that in both intergenerational cohorts, greater midadolescent active coping, higher positive activity involvement, and higher grades prospectively predict lower late adolescent cannabis use at significant (p < .05) or marginal (p < .10) levels, even after powerful control variables, such as parent cannabis use and alcohol use, as well as previous early adolescent cannabis use, are accounted for. Additionally, in both intergenerational cohorts, midadolescent high levels of active coping disrupt intergenerational transmission of cannabis use. Results indicate replication in the intergenerational transmission of cannabis use and in the protective effects of coping, grades, and, to a lesser extent, positive activity involvement across generational cohorts. Implications for prevention programming are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-876
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2020


  • activity involvement
  • cannabis
  • coping
  • grades
  • intergenerational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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