Primary versus secondary prevention messages: College students' perceptions of effectiveness by marijuana user status

Amy Wotring, Peter Paprzycki, Victoria Wagner-Green, Quri R. Wygonik, Alexis A. Blavos, Jessica Kruger, Tom Castor, Aaron J. Diehr, Tavis J. Glassman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: With medical and recreational marijuana legislation expanding throughout the country, the need to educate high-risk populations is evident. The purpose of this study was to assess college students’ perceptions of health communication messages comparing primary and secondary prevention messages concerning marijuana. Participants: Participants (n = 487) included college students, ages 18–25, enrolled in a Midwestern University. Methods: Participants assessed messages based on likeability, creativity, believability, persuasiveness, relevance, and usefulness using an online questionnaire that also included open-end comments. Results: Rasch analyses indicate that nonmarijuana users rated primary prevention messages higher than secondary prevention messages, whereas marijuana users ranked secondary prevention messages more favorably than primary prevention messages. Conclusion: Interventions designed to address marijuana use among college students may be more effective if tailored toward user status. Specifically, primary prevention materials should be designed for abstainers, while secondary prevention messages that focus on harm reduction strategies should be used with marijuana users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-752
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Health communication
  • college students
  • intervention
  • marijuana
  • primary prevention
  • secondary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Primary versus secondary prevention messages: College students' perceptions of effectiveness by marijuana user status'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this