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Cannabis use and vulnerability for psychosis in early adolescence—a TRAILS study

Authors

  • Merel F. H. Griffith-Lendering,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Johanna T. W. Wigman,

    1. Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • Andrea Prince van Leeuwen,

    1. Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Stephan C. J. Huijbregts,

    1. Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
    2. Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Anja C. Huizink,

    1. Department of Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Johan Ormel,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Frank C. Verhulst,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Jim van Os,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
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  • Hanna Swaab,

    1. Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
    2. Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Wilma A. M. Vollebergh

    1. Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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Correspondence to: Merel F.H. Griffith-Lendering, Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, PO Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, the Netherlands. E-mail: mlendering@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

Abstract

Aims

To examine the direction of the longitudinal association between vulnerability for psychosis and cannabis use throughout adolescence.

Design

Cross-lagged path analysis was used to identify the temporal order of vulnerability for psychosis and cannabis use, while controlling for gender, family psychopathology, alcohol use and tobacco use.

Setting

A large prospective population study of Dutch adolescents [the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) study].

Participants

A total of 2120 adolescents with assessments at (mean) age 13.6, age 16.3 and age 19.1.

Measurements

Vulnerability for psychosis at the three assessment points was represented by latent factors derived from scores on three scales of the Youth Self-Report and the Adult Self-Report, i.e. thought problems, social problems and attention problems. Participants self-reported on cannabis use during the past year at all three waves.

Findings

Significant associations (r = 0.12–0.23) were observed between psychosis vulnerability and cannabis use at all assessments. Also, cannabis use at age 16 predicted psychosis vulnerability at age 19 (Z = 2.6, P < 0.05). Furthermore, psychosis vulnerability at ages 13 (Z = 2.0, P < 0.05) and 16 (Z = 3.0, P < 0.05) predicted cannabis use at, respectively, ages 16 and 19.

Conclusions

Cannabis use predicts psychosis vulnerability in adolescents and vice versa, which suggests that there is a bidirectional causal association between the two.

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