Final Thesis

Open Access
Author:
Bryant, Deja
Area of Honors:
Criminology
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Derek Allen Kreager, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Marijuana use
  • Adolescence
  • Young adulthood
Abstract:
What comes first, marijuana use or depression? This thesis examines marijuana use and depression in adolescence and their associations with subsequent marijuana use and depression in young adulthood. Previous literature suggests alternative hypotheses for how marijuana usage and depression co-occur over time. The present study will use the public-use dataset from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Waves I (adolescents) and III (young adults) are merged for the analyses. I control for race, gender, and educational achievement in adolescence and also examine the potential moderating role of race. The results suggest; (1) using marijuana as an adolescent increases the likelihood of becoming depressed as a young adult when one was not already battling depression. (2) being depressed as an adolescent increases the likelihood of marijuana use as a young adult when one was not previously using marijuana. (3) as time goes on, the relationship between marijuana use and depression grows weaker. (4) in certain circumstances there are differences in the results when dividing by race. This thesis seeks to further research in mental health and self-medication in order to help the youth.