Category: Addictive Behaviors
Problem alcohol use continues to be a public health concern on college campuses. Alcohol outcome expectancies (AOE), one’s beliefs about the effects of alcohol, are consistently associated with alcohol use (Monk & Heim, 2013). Recent evidence suggests AOE can vary by drinking contexts (Ham et al., 2013) and that drinking patterns differ for college students based on their drink type preference (DTP, Lovett et al., 2013). AOE may also be uniquely associated with different types of alcohol drinks (Lindman & Lang, 1986). Thus, AOE may be linked to alcohol use as a function of DTP, which could make students more or less likely to use alcohol in various contexts to achieve certain desired drinking outcomes. Therefore, the current study examined the moderating role of DTP in the relationship between AOE and alcohol use in contexts.
Participants were 335 undergraduates (54% female, Mage=19.55, SD=1.94) who completed measures assessing DTP (ranking their preferred alcoholic beverages from a list of common drink types), a modified AOE measure (context-specific positive [e.g., I would be outgoing] and negative [e.g., I would be clumsy] AOE [Ham et al., 2013] in O’Hare’s  three contexts: convivial, negative coping, intimate), drinking behavior in each context, and hazardous alcohol use.
Consistent with previous DTP research, analyses were conducted with students who selected beer (n=172, 45% female), mixed drinks (n=81, 69% female), or hard liquor (n=82, 57% female) as their preferred beverage. Repeated-measures ANCOVA revealed in convivial contexts, DTP moderated the effect of negative AOE such that a significant positive relationship between negative AOE and drinking was observed for those who prefer hard liquor, F(2, 325)=2.06, p=.02, η =.03, controlling for gender and hazardous alcohol use. In coping contexts, significant interactions were noted for DTP and positive AOE, F(2, 325)=3.25, p=.04, ηp2=.02, and negative AOE, F(2, 325)=4.10, p=.02, ηp2=.03, on drinking such that a significant positive relationship was observed between positive AOE and drinking for DTP beer, with the strongest positive relationship between negative AOE and coping drinking observed for DTP mixed drinks and beer. No significant interactions were observed in the intimate drinking context.
Negative AOE in convivial contexts may be most relevant for those who prefer hard liquor whereas in negative coping drinking contexts, the strongest relationship between negative AOE and drinking was seen for those who prefer beer and mixed drinks. Positive AOE were most related to drinking in negative coping contexts for those who prefer beer. Overall, results suggest treatments targeting AOE to reduce problem drinking may consider assessing DTP in addition to expectancies in specific contexts.
Alexander Melkonian– Graduate Student, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Lindsay Ham– Associate Professor, University of Arkansas
Byron Zamboanga– Professor, Smith College
Lauren Hurd– Graduate Student, University of Arkansas
Noah Wolkowicz– University of Arkansas
Johnson Alexis– University of Arkansas
Khyesha McCall– University of Arkansas