Objective: To test reciprocal associations among internalizing symptoms (depression and social anxiety), using alcohol and cannabis to cope, and use-related problems.
Method: The study utilized a community sample (N = 387, 55% female; majority non-Hispanic Caucasian (83.1%) or African American (9.1%) and a longitudinal design that spanned 17 to 20 years of age, and distinguished within- and between-person associations using latent curve models with structured residuals.
Results: Reciprocal prospective within-person associations were supported for alcohol, such that elevated depression symptoms were associated with increased alcohol coping motivates 1 year later, which, in turn, was associated with subsequent increased depression symptoms. Bidirectional associations were not supported for social anxiety, although high levels of social anxiety were associated with elevated levels of coping drinking 1 year later. Cannabis coping motives were associated with exacerbation of depression, but not social anxiety symptoms, 1 year later. Between- and within-person contemporaneous associations suggested that depression and social anxiety were more strongly associated with coping than social/enhancement motives, and that coping motives were associated with use-related problems.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that alcohol coping motivates exacerbate rather than ameliorate depression symptoms, which, in turn, leads to greater reliance on alcohol to cope. There was more consistent support for associations with substance use-related problems for depression than for social anxiety. Both between- and within-person associations may be useful for identifying targets and timing of coping-oriented interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).