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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Feb;9(1):117-25.

Perceived vulnerability to alcohol-related harm in young adults: independent effects of risky alcohol use and drinking motives.

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  • 1Centre for Health Promotion Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Perceived vulnerability to negative outcomes can motivate heavy drinkers to adopt health-protective behavior, but little is known about determinants of perceived vulnerability to alcohol-related harm. University students (N = 286) were assessed to determine epidemiological risk status on a standardized problem drinking measure, typical reasons for drinking and cutting down, and perceived risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm. Results showed a positive relationship between problem drinking status and perceived risk of experiencing harm. However, at-risk drinkers believed that they were less likely to personally experience harm than comparable peers (p < .001), whereas not-at-risk drinkers showed no self-other differences in perceived vulnerability. Drinking motives significantly improved the prediction of perceived vulnerability when epidemiological risk status was controlled. Perceived vulnerability to alcohol-related harm is affected by problem drinking status and (independently) by the psychological functions that drinking serves.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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