Document Type


Publication Date



Protective Behavioral Strategies (PBS) are behaviors that effectively reduce the likelihood of experiencing substance-related harms. Despite the fact that most individuals use more than one substance, previous research on PBS has been limited to substance-specific measurement, i.e. alcohol-specific (e.g., PBSS) and cannabis-specific (e.g., PBSM). We developed the Substance Use Protective Strategies Scale (SUPSS) to measure more general substance use PBS, which was preliminary validated among Polish young adults (aged 18-30) using various substances (Greń et al., 2023), sand sought to its further examination. Participants (N=1856) took part in a multisite research of substance use among college students recruited from 10 universities located in 8 US states (AK, CA, CO, ID, NM, TX, VA, and WA). Analyses were restricted to those who reported substance use in the past month (n=1208; 88.4% alcohol, 43.9% cannabis, 3.8% stimulants). Based on previous psychometric testing, we examined a series of 3- and 4-factor models (with and without hierarchical factors or bifactors) using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM). Based on fit statistics and factor interpretation, 3-factor solution was selected with ESEM, which is ideal when small (non-zero) cross-loadings are expected. Across models, the SUPPS factors accounted for significant variance in substance-related outcomes (cannabis use disorder symptoms, R-square=.129; alcohol use disorder symptoms, R-square=.074; cannabis-related consequences, R-square=.065; alcohol-related consequences, R-square=.054). SUPSS (total score) was moderately correlated with established substance-specific measures for both alcohol (PBSS; r=.36) and cannabis (PBSM; r=.45), supporting its concurrent validity. Although our sample was relatively large, we will continue to gather data as part of this ongoing multisite study to explore measurement models that failed to converge in the present sample (e.g., bifactor CFA model). Overall, we found further support for assessing general substance use PBS, which complements and extends the examination of substance-specific PBS use.


Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2023

2nd Place Poster prize for Population Health.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.