Marijuana and its relationship to educational expectations in adolescence.

Open Access
Demoura, Eric Joseph
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jeremy Staff, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
  • marijuana
  • adolescence
  • alcohol
  • education
  • expectation
Do students who smoke marijuana in adolescence have lower educational expectations than their non-smoking peers do? Research suggests that those who smoke marijuana at younger ages are less likely to complete higher levels of post secondary education, but it has yet to be determined as to "why" this association exists. One possibility is that marijuana use reduces educational expectations. I use survey data from the 2013 Monitoring the Future study to test this hypothesis. I find that it is less likely for a student to expect to attend to graduate from higher levels of education (a four year college or graduate school) if they have smoked marijuana frequently in their youths. Youth who have previously used alcohol also have lower educational expectations compared to youth who have not used alcohol in the past, but this relationship was found to be weaker compared to marijuana use. My findings suggest that there may be other factors, such as labeling effect, that accounts for the association between adolescent marijuana use and low expectations to graduate from a college program.