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Eur Addict Res. 2010;16(1):17-22. doi: 10.1159/000253860. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Alcohol expectancy and hazardous drinking: a 6-year longitudinal and nationwide study of medical doctors.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences in Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.



The study's aim was to determine whether medical doctors' expectancy that alcohol use reduces tension predicts the extent of their hazardous drinking and whether this effect is mediated by drinking to cope.


A group of Norwegian medical doctors' (n = 288) alcohol use was followed for 6 years. The expectancy that alcohol reduces tension and the use of alcohol to cope with tension were measured 3.5 years after graduation (T1), and hazardous drinking was evaluated at T1 and 9.5 years after graduation (T2).


At T1, 15% of men and 3% of women reported hazardous drinking. At T2, these proportions were 16 and 2%, respectively. Men reported a higher expectancy than women that alcohol reduces tension (p = 0.03), whereas there was no sex difference in drinking to cope. Adjusted predictors of hazardous drinking at T2 were male sex (p < 0.01), alcohol expectancy (p < 0.01) and hazardous drinking at T1 (p < 0.001). The effect of alcohol expectancy on hazardous drinking at T2 was not mediated by drinking to cope. Hazardous drinking at T1 mediated the effect of drinking to cope on hazardous drinking at T2.


Efforts to reduce drinking among medical students and doctors should target both alcohol expectancies (beliefs) and hazardous drinking (behavior).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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