Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Christine L. Larson

Committee Members

Han Joo Lee, Daniel M. Stout, Deborah Hannula, Krista M. Lisdahl


anxiety, cannabis use, cognitive control, fMRI, motor response inhibition, PTSD


The ability to effectively withhold an inappropriate response is a critical feature of cognitive control. Prior research indicates alterations in neural processes required for motor response inhibition in anxious individuals, including those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and those who engage in regular cannabis use. However, thus far most research has examined how anxiety-related symptoms and cannabis use influence response inhibition in isolation of one another. The current study examined the interactions between anxious symptomology and recent cannabis use in a sample that recently experienced a traumatic event using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the completion of a Stop-Signal task. We identified an underlying component reflective of anxious symptomology and PTSD, and examined how this factor interacted with recent cannabis use to predict behavioral performance and neural activity during completion of this task. We found no evidence for impaired behavioral performance, or alterations in underlying brain regions between those who did and did not recently engage in cannabis use, across levels of anxiety and PTSD, or interactions between these variables. These results are discussed in relation to the current literature surrounding the relationship between motor response inhibition, anxiety, cannabis use, and PTSD.