Impact of a computerized intervention for high distress intolerance on cannabis use outcomes: A randomized controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Prevalence of regular cannabis use and cannabis use disorder (CUD) have increased in the past two decades, but treatment-seeking is low and extant brief interventions do not target causal risk factors implicated in etiological models of addiction. Elevated distress intolerance (DI) is one risk factor that has been empirically linked with greater CUD severity and maintenance in regular users, but, to our knowledge, research has never targeted it in a brief intervention among cannabis users with CUD or at high risk. The current RCT evaluated the impact of a DI intervention (i.e., Distress Tolerance Intervention [DTI]) compared to a healthy habits control intervention (i.e., Healthy Video Control [HVC]) on DI and cannabis use outcomes. METHOD: We randomized cannabis users with high DI (N = 60) to the DTI or HVC condition and they received two computerized intervention sessions. We assessed relief cannabis craving at pre- and post-treatment; and we assessed DI, cannabis use coping motives, use-related problems, and use frequency at pre- and post-treatment as well as one- and four-month follow-ups. We assessed CUD symptoms via interviews at pre-treatment and four-month follow-up. RESULTS: Significant, durable reductions in DI and all cannabis use outcomes occurred in both conditions. Compared to the HVC condition, the DTI led to greater reductions in use frequency during the treatment period. Reductions in self-reported DI were correlated with reductions in coping motives and CUD symptoms. CONCLUSION: The DTI's impact on all outcomes was largely comparable to the control condition, though it may have utility as an adjunctive intervention.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Macatee, RJ; Albanese, BJ; Okey, SA; Afshar, K; Carr, M; Rosenthal, MZ; Schmidt, NB; Cougle, JR

Published Date

  • February 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 121 /

Start / End Page

  • 108194 -

PubMed ID

  • 33357604

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7770335

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6483

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jsat.2020.108194


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States