Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions, University of New Mexico, United States of America.
Marijuana internalized norms, measured by the Perceived Importance of Marijuana to the College Experience Scale (PIMCES; 8 items), has been found to be distinct from marijuana descriptive/injunctive norms and to be a unique robust predictor of marijuana-related outcomes among college students, yet the role of these beliefs has not been studied outside the U.S. Using confirmatory factor analysis, the present work examined the level of measurement invariance (i.e., configural, metric, and scalar) of the PIMCES across five different countries with distinct marijuana-related regulations (i.e., U.S., Argentina, Spain, Uruguay, and the Netherlands), sex, and marijuana user status among college students (n = 3424) recruited between September 2017 and January 2018. To make valid comparisons across groups, metric invariance is needed to compare correlations and scalar invariance is needed to compare latent means. We found strong measurement invariance (i.e., scalar invariance) for the PIMCES across countries, across males and females, and across marijuana users and non-users. College students in the U.S. reported the highest levels of marijuana internalized norms compared to college students from all other countries. As expected, males and marijuana users showed significantly higher scores on the PIMCES than females and non-users, respectively. Bivariate correlations between PIMCES scores and other marijuana-related variables were remarkably similar across males and females, though differences across countries warrant further exploration. Taken together, the degree to which college students view marijuana use to be an integral part of the college experience may be an important target for college student marijuana interventions across various countries/cultures.
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