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J Stud Alcohol. 2000 Mar;61(2):332-40.

Generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation and problem drinking among college students.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago 60607, USA.



Motivational models of alcohol use often invoke constructs derived from social-learning theory, including coping styles, drinking motives and affective distress. To date, no study has assessed the potential role of negative mood regulation (NMR) expectancies (the extent to which one holds positive expectations of one's ability to cope with negative affect) in promoting problematic drinking behavior. This study evaluated the relationship between NMR expectancies and problem-related drinking while controlling for the influence of alcohol consumption, coping behaviors, drinking motives, demographic variables and affective distress.


Participants (N = 136, 80% female) were college undergraduates who completed a battery of self-report questionnaires on two occasions that were separated by 8 weeks.


Initial correlational analyses indicated a strong (negative) association between NMR expectancies and problem drinking behavior. Findings from separate hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that NMR expectancies add significantly to the variance in predicting problem drinking, even when accounting for age and gender, alcohol consumption and, in respective analyses, coping styles, affective distress and drinking motives. Finally, simultaneous regression analyses showed that when all variables were considered together, only NMR expectancies, alcohol consumption and drinking-to-cope emerged as significant predictors of problem drinking.


These findings highlight the potential importance of NMR expectancies as a risk factor for problem drinking, above and beyond the risk posed by traditionally studied variables (e.g., depression and anxiety, coping repertoire and drinking motives). Results are interpreted within a self-regulation framework of alcohol consumption.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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