Author(s): Read JP, LauBarraco C, Dunn ME, Borsari B
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Alcohol expectancies have been linked to drinking behavior in college students, and vary according to a number of factors, including projected dose of alcohol. Research using Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) suggests that drinking may be influenced by activation of differing expectancy dimensions in memory, yet studies have not examined expectancy activation according to projected alcohol doses. METHODS: The present study used Individual Differences Scaling (INDSCAL) to map expectancy networks of college students (n = 334) who imagined varied drinking at high and low alcohol doses. Expectancy activation was modeled by dose, as well as by gender and by drinking patterns (typical quantity, blood alcohol content, heavy episodic drinking, and alcohol consequences). Expectancies were organized along positive-negative and arousal-sedation dimensions. Anticipation of a high dose of alcohol was associated with greater emphasis on the arousal-sedation dimension, whereas anticipation of a lower dose was associated with greater emphasis on the positive-negative dimension. RESULTS: Across heavy, medium, and light drinkers, expectancy dimensions were most distinguishable at higher doses; activation patterns were more similar across drinking groups at lighter doses. Modest evidence for the influence of gender on activation patterns was observed. Findings were consistent across alcohol involvement indices. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that both dimensionality and context should be considered in the refinement of interventions designed to alter expectancies in order to decrease hazardous drinking.
This article was published in Alcohol Clin Exp Res
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals