Adolescent Marijuana Use in the United States and Structural Breaks: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis, 1991–2018

Jiaxin Gu, Xin Guo, Gerry Veenstra, Yushu Zhu, Qiang Fu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate temporal patterns, sociodemographic gradients, and structural breaks in adolescent marijuana use in the United States from 1991 to 2018, we used hierarchical age-period-cohort logistic regression models to distinguish temporal effects of marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 28 waves of the Monitoring the Future survey (1991-2018). Structural breaks in period effects were further detected via a dynamic-programing-based method. Net of other effects, we found a clear age-related increase in the probability of marijuana use (10.46%, 23.17%, and 31.19% for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively). Period effects showed a substantial increase over time (from 16.23% in 2006 to 26.38% in 2018), while cohort effects remained stable throughout the study period. Risk of adolescent marijuana use varied by sex, racial group, family status, and parental education. Significant structural breaks during 1995-1996, 2006-2008, and 2011-2013 were identified in different subpopulations. A steady increase in marijuana use among adolescents during the latter years of this time period was identified. Adolescents who were male, were non-Black, lived in nonintact families, and had less educated parents were especially at risk of marijuana usage. Trends in adolescent marijuana use changed significantly during times of economic crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1063
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • adolescents
  • age-period-cohort analysis
  • cannabis
  • economic recessions
  • marijuana
  • structural breaks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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