Method: In July 2019, the SPIN Project's Youth Research Advisory Board recruited 75 Black adolescents (mean age 15.49) living in a single neighborhood to complete brief surveys on cell phones triggered geo fences four times a day for a month. In total, the youth completed 2,070 surveys during the day, assessing momentary negative emotion (α =.90) and perceptions of racism (α =.55), violence (α =.89), and social support (α =.95) in the space and 1,480 surveys at the end of the day, assessing marijuana use. Violence, racism, social support, and negative emotions were averaged across a day, and group mean-centered. Negative binomial models were estimated in a multi-level framework to predict marijuana use each day. Barron and Kenny's four-step process and Sobel tests were used to test for mediation.
Results: Participants reported smoking marijuana on 10% of all days in which they reported, with 25% of the sample reporting smoking marijuana during the GEMA period. A marginally significant direct relationship was found between participants daily perceptions of violence (B(SE) = .17(.09), p = .06) and social support (B(SE) =-.18(.11), p = .09) in spaces and daily marijuana use, however a significant indirect effect was found through daily negative emotion (Sobel test violence = 2.62 (.01), p<.01; Sobel test social support= -2.50 (.01), p<.05), indicating full mediation. A significant direct effect was found between daily perceptions of racism and daily marijuana use (B(SE) = .44 (.13), p<.001) and a significant indirect effect through daily negative emotion (Sobel test = 2.50 (.01), p<.05) indicating partial mediation.
Conclusions and Implications: Black youth's daily experiences of spaces are related to their daily negative emotions and marijuana use. GEMA gives social workers a tool to assess how adolescents' perceptions of their environment impact their development. The results of this study support the assertion that Black youth use marijuana to cope with stress in their environment. They further suggest that macro-level solutions that develop supportive spaces are needed to prevent Black adolescents’ frequent marijuana and support positive development.