Addictive worldviews: a terror management perspective on cannabis use
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Science
Much research has attempted to get a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in substance use and substance use disorders. Despite these scientific efforts, modern societies are struggling with the negative outcomes associated with these behaviours, and there remain many uncertainties about the prospects for individual recovery. The current research aimed to understand some of the mechanisms involved in substance use by taking a terror management perspective. The focus of this study was cannabis and the cultural worldviews that motivate its use. Cannabis users were randomly assigned to read either an anti-cannabis culture threat-condition essay, or a pro-cannabis culture non-threat condition essay. Following the threat or non-threat condition participants’ death thought accessibility was measured. Cannabis users with high investment in the cannabis cultural worldview, who use cannabis regularly, showed higher mean death thought accessibility scores when the worldview was threatened compared with the control group. Also, those with high investment in the cannabis cultural worldview showed marked increases in derogation of the author of the threat condition piece, which denigrated the cannabis worldview. This suggests worldview defence mechanisms may be at work within highly invested users of cannabis. It is hoped that this research will provide added insight into the motivations involved in cannabis use, as well as to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in a successful recovery from roblematic use. If worldviews do play a role in mitigating the anxiety of death for cannabis users then future studies might look at other substances and the worldviews that surround their use.
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