Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Dace Svikis


As more states authorize the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, rates of prenatal cannabis use are on the rise. Yet research on perceptions of prenatal cannabis use has been limited, and the existing research lacks reliable, quantitative measures. In response, researchers in Denver developed the Perceptions of Prenatal Cannabis Use (PPCU) survey, a 16-item measure designed to assess perceived risks and benefits of prenatal cannabis use. The present study analyzed PPCU survey data administered at three different recruitment sites (Denver, CO; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA). The present study examined women’s perceptions of the risks and benefits of cannabis use (both generally and during pregnancy), assessed the psychometric properties of the PPCU survey, and compared perceptions of prenatal cannabis use across demographic variables and recruitment sites. It was hypothesized that women who were younger, unmarried, less educated, and recent cannabis users would view prenatal cannabis use as more safe/beneficial. Examining data across all three recruitment sites (N = 582), while participants endorsed a mixture of both risks and benefits of cannabis use by the general public, they expressed more uncertainty when rating the risks and benefits of cannabis use during pregnancy. Additionally, the current study found the PPCU to be a reliable measure. Further, in line with hypotheses, women across the total sample were more likely to view prenatal cannabis use as safe/beneficial if they were younger, unmarried, and less educated, as well as if they were recent cannabis users. Finally, when looking across the three sites, women in Denver were more likely to perceive prenatal cannabis use as safe/beneficial than women in Pittsburgh or Richmond. These findings emphasize the need for further research and education on the potential risks and benefits associated with prenatal cannabis use.


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Available for download on Thursday, May 09, 2024