Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Danielle Dick

Second Advisor

Jessica Salvatore

Third Advisor

Nathan Gillespie


This study examined the overall and conditional influences of a polygenic score for cannabis initiation, various forms of activity participation, peer deviance, and time on recent cannabis use. Data came from a longitudinal sample of undergraduate college students and was stratified into European American (NEA=3010) and African American (NAA=1308) subsamples for genetic analyses. Engagement with church activities predicted lower probability of cannabis use. Peer deviance predicted higher probability of cannabis use Engagement with community activities moderated in the influence of the polygenic risk score in the EA subsample, such that any level of engagement with community activities truncated the influence of the polygenic risk score on probability of recent cannabis use. This effect did not replicate in the AA subset due to low (8%) observed power in this subsample. Results suggests that programs which facilitate engagement with the community may represent a means to reduce the influence of genetic risk loading on cannabis use.


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Available for download on Friday, December 31, 2021