Research & Resources

College Students’ Reasons for Nonuse of Alcohol and Cannabis

In this study, researchers examined reasons for alcohol nonuse among college students after they planned to use alcohol or cannabis. Participants were 341 college students from three universities who completed 54 days of data collection, 50 percent of which were alcohol nonuse days. Each morning, participants indicated whether they planned to use that day; nonuse reasons were assessed the next morning, if applicable. On a given nonuse day (at the within-person level), “work” and “school” were reasons associated with having no plan to use alcohol and “to feel in control” was linked to having no plan to use cannabis. “Did not want to get high” was related to forgoing plans (e.g., did not use when originally planned) for alcohol use at the within-person level. At the between-person level, “no desire” was associated with no plans for alcohol or cannabis use and “did not want to get high” was related to no plans for cannabis use. “School” and “could not get” were related to forgoing plans for alcohol and cannabis use, respectively, at the between-person level. The researchers proposed that reasons for nonuse could inform intervention and prevention strategies (e.g., those involving social norms or just-in-time adaptive efforts) for alcohol and cannabis use on college campuses. 

This paper, “Forgoing plans for alcohol and cannabis use in daily life: Examining reasons for nonuse when use was planned in a predominantly white college student sample,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse and published in the journal Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research.

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