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Psychol Addict Behav. 2014 Dec;28(4):952-9. doi: 10.1037/a0037041. Epub 2014 Aug 18.

Protective behavioral strategies, alcohol expectancies, and drinking motives in a model of college student drinking.

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Old Dominion University.


An extensive body of research asserts alcohol expectancies, or beliefs regarding the effects of alcohol, as an important influence on drinking. However, the extent to which expectancies are related to drinking motives and protective behavioral strategies (PBS) has yet to be examined. Existing alcohol mediational models suggest associations between expectancies and drinking motives as well as positive drinking motives and PBS use. Thus, it is possible that drinking motives and PBS use act as intervening factors in the relationship between expectancies and alcohol outcomes. Consequently, the cross-sectional study presented here aimed to test the indirect effect of expectancies (i.e., social facilitation) on alcohol outcomes through drinking motives and PBS use. Participants were 520 (358 female) college student drinkers with a mean age of 20.80 (SD = 4.61) years. Students completed measures of expectancies, drinking motives, PBS use, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems. Results from structural equation modeling indicated that drinking motives and PBS mediated the relationship between social expectancies and alcohol use. In particular, expectancies were associated with greater positive drinking motives, drinking motives were associated with less PBS use, and PBS was associated with less alcohol use and fewer alcohol-related problems. Given the key role of PBS in explaining drinking outcomes in our model, active efforts to incorporate PBS in alcohol interventions may be particularly beneficial for college students. Further, our findings support the consideration of PBS use as a part of the motivational model of alcohol use in future work.

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