contributing co-author: Gacia Tachejian
Being young involves quite a bit of exciting change. There’s the end of high-school, the start of college and some measure of independence, and a whole slew of new experiences.
A recent study conducted by Judith Brooks at NYU School of Medicine has revealed that one of those experiences, smoking marijuana (weed) may be associated with more relationship conflict later in life. What’s amazing about this study is that the drug use here occurred earlier in life for most of the 534 participants, while the relationship trouble was assessed around their mid- to late-twenties.
Could other factors explain this finding?!
Now you may be thinking to yourself that there are a whole lot of other aspects of a person’s life that can affect their relationship quality and their probability of smoking weed in adolescence. You’d be right, but here’s what the researchers in this study ruled out as possible confounds (the scientific name for variables that obscure findings):
- Relationship with parents
- Aggressive tendencies
- adjustment difficulty
Even after controlling for all of these things, smoking marijuana as a teen still predicted having less harmonious relationships later on in life.
All humor aside, this research is not saying that if you smoke weed you will definitely have a lower quality relationship later. What it does point out is that, on average, given a person with similar social skills, aggressive personality, and education, the one who smoked marijuana around their mid-teens is likely to have a less satisfying relationship.
UPDATE: Before you leave another angry comment about how wrong this article is to suggest that marijuana can cause any problems ever, please read my article on the difference between causality and association; this article is talking about an association, not causality.
Brook, J. S., Pahl, K., and Cohen, P. (2008). Associations between marijuana use during emerging adulthood and aspects of significant other relationship in young adulthood. Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol 17, pg. 1-12.