Individuals' reasons for marijuana use have been linked to their risk for continued use and development of disordered use. Although individuals tend to have multiple reasons for use, co-occurrence of reasons is not always accounted for in analytic approaches. Latent transition analysis (LTA) is ideal for modeling transitions in co-occurring reasons. Using longitudinal panel data from Monitoring the Future, LTA was used to identify profiles of self-reported reasons for marijuana use among young adults, examine transitions between profiles, and determine whether cohort, gender, race/ethnicity, parent education, grade of first marijuana use, and 4-year college attendance predicted transitions between profiles. Data included senior year cohorts from 1976-2009 and were collected at ages 19/20, 21/22, and 23/24 (weighted n = 7,294; 55.9% female; 79.3% White). Five latent classes were identified: Non-Users and individuals with Experimental, Typical, Get High + Relax, and Escape + Coping Reasons. Transitions among Non-Users, Experimental Reasons, and Typical Reasons were common; generally, those with earlier cohort membership, early initiation, college non-attending parents, and college attendance were more likely to make transitions to higher-risk classes. As the legalization of recreational marijuana use continues to expand, change over time in reasons for use should be considered carefully as interventions are developed and implemented.
Keywords: latent transition analysis; marijuana use; reasons for use.