Heterogeneous Patterns of Marijuana Use Motives Using Latent Profile Analysis

Renee M. Cloutier*, Nathan T. Kearns, Ashley A. Knapp, Ateka A. Contractor, Heidemarie Blumenthal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Given that marijuana use is often associated with detrimental physical and mental health problems, research examining motives for its use is critical for effective remedial and preventive treatment. To date, the majority of research on marijuana use motives has used variable-centered analyses, which overlooks potentially meaningful heterogeneous response patterns and the associations of those patterns with other risk/protective factors. Methods: To address this gap, in the current study, we conducted a person-centered analysis (latent profile analysis) to identify subgroups of participants based on endorsed marijuana use motives, and examined the construct validity of the optimal class solution (covariates included sociodemographic (e.g., age), psychiatric (e.g., depression), and marijuana-use indices (e.g., use-frequency, use-related problems). Participants were 898 college students (Mage = 20.93, SDage = 3.10; 68.9% female) who completed an anonymous online survey examining substance use and psychological well-being, were 18 years or older, and endorsed lifetime marijuana use. Data were collected November 2016 through February 2018. Results: Results identified four unique classes of coping, conformity, social, and enhancement marijuana use motives: (a) “Low Motives” (37.6%), (b) “High Conformity” (4.9%), (c) “Low Conformity” (45.8%), and (d) “High Motives” (11.7%). In terms of covariates, higher motive classes tended to report more frequent and problematic use. The two classes uniquely characterized by conformity motives only differed on past-month marijuana use frequency. Conclusions/Importance: The current findings provide evidence that specific classes of motives were not only associated with marijuana use frequency and problems but other risk and protective factors, such as anxiety sensitivity and social support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1485-1498
Number of pages14
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 29 2019


  • Marijuana motives
  • latent profile analysis
  • person-centered

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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