Cannabis Dependence and Peer Selection in Social Networks of Frequent Users

By Liebregts, Nienke; Benschop, Annemieke et al. | Contemporary Drug Problems, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Cannabis Dependence and Peer Selection in Social Networks of Frequent Users


Liebregts, Nienke, Benschop, Annemieke, Van Der Pol, Peggy, Van Laar, Margriet, De Graaf, Ron, Van Den Brink, Wim, Korf, Dirk J., Contemporary Drug Problems


In a Dutch longitudinal study on the dynamics of cannabis dependence, at baseline 600 frequent cannabis users (≥ 3 days cannabis use per week in past 12 months) aged 18-30 years were interviewed. Nearly half of all participants (42%) met DSM-IV criteria for cannabis dependence in the 12 months prior to the interview. Participants were recruited by respondent-driven sampling; referrals were understood as proxy for social networks to explore peer associations and social exclusion. Analyses revealed that networks of frequent cannabis users were mostly heterogeneous. Cannabis dependence did not emerge as a main selector. However, within segments of networks some clustering of cannabis dependence (indicating differential inclusion), sex and ethnicity was found. Methodological questions are discussed regarding the applicability of respondent-driven sampling in noninjecting, nonmarginalized drug users. The study's limitations are noted.

KEY WORDS: Cannabis dependence, respondent-driven sampling, social networks, frequent cannabis use, social exclusion.

Drug use is often a social activity that occurs in an environment with other users (Fountain & Korf, 2007). In his classic study How to become a marihuana user, Becker (1963) argues that continued drug use is typically the result of social learning. In addition, Zinberg (1984) states that the effects of drugs experienced by users are influenced by three intertwined factors (drug, set, and setting), the latter including informal social control. The relevance of this social control lies in minimizing the harm of drug use, thus resulting in controlled intoxicant use. Violating the appropriate informal rules and norms regarding drug use within a group of users leads to social sanctions, and violators might eventually be excluded from the group. Alternatively, rituals and elements of social settings prevent uncontrolled drug use like dependence (Dunlap, Johnson, Sifaweck, & Benoit, 2005; Goode, 1999; Zinberg, 1984) and this explains why many cannabis users carefully choose when, where and with whom to use the drug (Reinarman & Cohen, 2007). Consequently, processes of social inclusion and exclusion may play an important role in drug using careers (cf. Vervaeke, van Deursen, & Korf, 2008).

In a wider context, Glueck & Glueck (1950) argue that, in line with the saying "birds of a feather flock together," once deviant, juveniles are more likely to associate with deviant peers. In his classic theory of differential association, Sutherland (1947) stated that deviant behavior is learned through association and interaction with other delinquents, especially in small, informal peer groups. Akers (1998), who further explored and refined Sutherland's theory, found that the probability of frequent substance use increased when individuals in their social networks were more often exposed to favorable than to unfavorable definitions of use, including cannabis use.

A crucial question in the current study is the extent to which frequent cannabis use and cannabis dependence is an important unifying factor in peer networks. Is cannabis the "feather" that makes users flock together? In line with Zinberg' s theory, it could be argued that cannabis dependence indicates less controlled use, and thus a violation of the social norms of drug use, which then leads to social exclusion from social networks of frequent but not dependent users. The question then is, whether cannabis dependent users become socially isolated (exclusion), or tend to congregate in social networks of dependent users (differential inclusion). Alternatively, it could be argued that frequent cannabis use by itself is already a violation of the social norms of controlled use, and therefore dependence will not lead to social exclusion from frequent but nondependent users. The question then arises of which other factors might bond social networks of frequent cannabis users. The main purpose of the current study is to explore the role of social exclusion and inclusion, by analyzing social networks within the total sample of 600 frequent cannabis users, who were recruited through respondent-driven sampling, by exploring the role of cannabis use - cannabis dependence in particular - and sociodemographic variables in peer associations in high-risk and dependent cannabis users. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cannabis Dependence and Peer Selection in Social Networks of Frequent Users
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.