Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Nichea Spillane


Introduction: Young adults (ages 18-25 years old) exhibit higher rates of cannabis use and cannabis-associated negative consequences compared to all other age groups. Generally, people report different motives for using cannabis, including coping, conformity, enhancement, social, and expansion. In particular, avoidance motives (e.g., coping motives to deal with negative emotions and conformity motives to avoid social rejection) have been consistently associated with more severe negative consequences. Savoring involves consciously focusing one’s attention on positive events and using thoughts and behaviors to intensify those positive feelings; as such, savoring may be differentially associated with cannabis motives. Due to savoring’s association with positive experiences, savoring might be protective for those who report avoidance motives (coping and conformity) yet risky for those who report approach motives (enhancement, expansion, and social). However, the literature on cannabis motives in relation to savoring is limited. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to examine the interaction of cannabis motives and savoring on cannabis-associated consequences in a young adult sample. Specifically, I hypothesized that: 1) the interaction between savoring and coping motives predicting cannabis-associated consequences will be significant, such that those individuals who endorse greater levels of savoring and less coping motives will report less severe cannabis-associated consequences; and 2) the interactions between savoring and enhancement, expansion, and social motives predicting cannabis-associated consequences will be significant, such that those with greater levels of savoring and more enhancement, expansion, or social motives, will report more severe cannabis-associated consequences. Lastly, exploratory analyses will examine the interaction between savoring and conformity motives predicting cannabis-associated consequences.

Methods: The present study was a secondary data analysis of a pilot study examining savoring in young adults (ages 18-25 years old) who use cannabis. Participants (N = 154, 61.7% men, 70.8% White, 88.3% non-Hispanic, and 63.4% full-time students) who used cannabis at least once per week in the past month and had access to text messaging completed a battery of self-report measures. For the purpose of the current study, I used the following measures; demographic questionnaire, frequency of cannabis use in the past month, the Marijuana Motives Measure (MMM), the Savoring Beliefs Inventory (SBI), and the Cannabis-Associated Problems Questionnaire (CAPQ).

Results: In bivariate correlations, the avoidance motives including coping motives (r = .18, p < .05) and conformity motives (r = .54, p < .001), and savoring (r = -.24, p < .01) were significantly associated with cannabis-associated consequences. However, the interaction terms of each cannabis motive by savoring, controlling for cannabis use frequency, gender, and student status, were not significantly related to cannabis-associated consequences: coping (b = 0.02, p = .67), conformity (b = 0.006, p = .879), enhancement (b = 0.02, p = .73), expansion (b = 0.003, p = .942), and social (b = 0.07, p = .169). The non-significant interaction term was removed and five separate linear regression analyses (one for each motive and savoring) controlling for cannabis use frequency, gender, and student status revealed significant main effects of coping (b = 4.19, p < .001) and conformity motives (b = 4.63, p < .001) on cannabis-associated consequences. However, the linear regressions revealed no significant effects of savoring or the other cannabis motives (enhancement, expansion, and social) on cannabis-associated consequences.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that avoidance motives for cannabis use (coping and conformity) are strongly associated with cannabis-associated consequences, beyond the impact of savoring. Results indicate the importance of addressing avoidance motives in interventions aimed at reducing cannabis-associated consequences. A large-scale clinical trial is warranted to explore how interventions might decrease avoidance motives, thereby mitigating cannabis-associated consequences.

Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025