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Evaluation of Ecological Momentary Interventions to Improve Coping with Cannabis Craving

MAY 6, 2022

Molly A. B. Anderson, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Center for Technology and Behavioral Health
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

About the Presentation: Cannabis use in young adults is a major public health concern. An important predictor of continued use is cannabis craving. Due to the time-varying nature of craving, brief momentary interventions delivered while cravings are elevated may improve use of strategies to cope with cravings and reduce cannabis use. Mindfulness and distraction have been evaluated as interventions to reduce cravings for other substances (e.g., alcohol and cigarettes) with positive but mixed results. These two strategies have distinct theoretical bases: mindfulness involves maintaining attention on an immediate experience while adopting an accepting and curious perspective whereas distraction involves active engagement with an alternative activity to direct focus away from the craving experience. This presentation will include: an overview of the process for developing messages to promote mindfulness vs. distraction strategies which were subsequently used in an ecological momentary intervention (EMI) targeting cannabis cravings among young adults; results from this formative study; a description of the EMI; engagement and user satisfaction results from this pilot trial; and a discussion of next steps for analyses and future trials.

About the Presenter:  Molly Anderson, PhD, is a T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. She earned her BS in Psychology – Behavior Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and her MS and PhD in Psychology at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on understanding contextual factors that influence risky and impulsive choices and leveraging digital technology to improve the efficiency and accessibility of interventions to increase pro-health behavior.