Too Much Information? Excessive Media Use, Maladaptive Coping, and Increases in Problematic Cannabis Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During a health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, the public depends on the media for accurate and up-to-date information. However, frequent use of media for COVID-19-related information may be associated with maladaptive coping, and with increased prevalence of substance use. This study examined indirect associations between the frequency of media use for information about COVID-19 and increases in cannabis use behaviors through maladaptive coping strategies. We use data from an online survey of Israeli adult cannabis users (N = 440), conducted in May of 2020, to test associations between media use frequency for COVID-19 information and three problematic cannabis use behaviors: increased cannabis use, increased use alone, and increased use before midday. Among all respondents, 41% agreed that their cannabis use had increased since the onset of the pandemic. Analyses showed that higher frequency of media use was positively associated with all three indicators of problematic cannabis use, and that associations were partly mediated by maladaptive coping strategies. Higher frequency of media use for information about COVID-19 may be an indicator of difficulty with coping and of increased risk of escalation of cannabis use. These results have implications for assessing and mitigating the risk of coping-motivated cannabis use during a crisis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • cannabis use
  • cannabis users
  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • Maladaptive coping
  • media exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)

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