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Psychol Addict Behav. 2012 Jun;26(2):311-7. doi: 10.1037/a0024126. Epub 2011 May 30.

Rose-colored beer goggles: the relation between experiencing alcohol consequences and perceived likelihood and valence.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Box 351629, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Although experiencing alcohol-related consequences has some influence on future drinking, this effect may be stronger based on the degree to which the consequence is viewed as positive versus negative, either by the individual or predefined by researchers. This study explored the relationship between experiencing positive and negative alcohol-related consequences and college students' perceptions of how likely those consequences were to occur in the future (i.e., likelihood), and their view of how positive or negative experiencing those consequences would be if they did experience them as a result of drinking (i.e., valence). Data were collected from 491 college students (mean age = 19.26; 56.4% female; 55.0% Caucasian; 33.2% Asian/Pacific Islander) through a computerized survey. Results indicated that experiencing more positive consequences in the past year was associated with viewing those consequences as both more likely to occur and more positive, while experiencing more negative consequences was associated with viewing them as less negative and no more likely to occur, except for those who had experienced the highest levels of negative consequences. These findings suggest that finding ways to reduce both perceptions as well as consequences themselves may be effective intervention tools.

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