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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 May 21;70(2):201-14.

Alcohol outcome expectancies and risk for alcohol use problems in women with and without a family history of alcoholism.

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  • 1Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 66, New York 10032, USA.


Studies have shown that alcohol expectancies are positively associated with drinking and alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms among alcohol users. This study looked at the relationship of alcohol expectancies, family history of alcoholism, menstrual cycle and drinking behavior. The present study compared alcohol expectancies using the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire (AEQ) in 85 women ranging from 18 to 35 years of age. Forty-one women had a confirmed parental history of alcoholism (family history positive, FHP) and 44 women had no parental history of alcoholism (family history negative, FHN). Participants' mood, alcohol consumption, and daily consequences of alcohol use were prospectively tracked across one menstrual cycle. Alcohol expectancies at screening were significantly greater in FHP women in four of the six AEQ subscales, as well as the composite score. Alcohol expectancies correlated significantly with drinking behavior among FHN women. In FHP women, alcohol expectancies were elevated regardless of their drinking level. Alcohol expectancies decreased among FHP women, but not FHN women, after prospectively tracking their drinking behavior and consequences of drinking. Negative outcomes of drinking were increased among the FHP women who were heavy drinkers. Irrespective of family history status, alcohol use in moderate drinkers increased significantly during menses compared to the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. These findings suggest that menstrual cycle may also play a role in alcohol consumption. Thus, the results of the present study indicate that issues related to the level of alcohol consumption, menstrual cycle phase and family history of alcoholism should be considered when addressing alcohol abuse in women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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