Misperceptions of college student marijuana use: Implications for prevention

Jason R. Kilmer, Denise D. Walker, Christine M. Lee, Rebekka S. Palmer, Kimberly A. Mallett, Patricia Fabiano, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigates the relationship between marijuana use, perceived norms of use by friends and students in general, and negative experiences or problems from alcohol and drug use. It was hypothesized that students would overestimate the marijuana use of students in general and that perceptions about the prevalence of marijuana use would be related to drug-related consequences. Method: In this study, 5,990 participants provided information on the perceptions and consequences of drug use via an online survey or via a paper-based survey. Results: Although two thirds of participants reported no marijuana use, 98% of respondents incorrectly predicted that students in general use marijuana at least once per year. Perceptions of use by friends and students in general accounted for variance in drug use and related problems or experiences. Conclusions: Given the relationship between norm misperception and behavior with marijuana use, future research could explore the impact of targeting misperceived norms through prevention and intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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