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Psychol Addict Behav. 2016 Feb;30(1):122-7. doi: 10.1037/adb0000115. Epub 2015 Sep 7.

Poor body image and alcohol use in women.

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Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York.


Two studies were conducted to examine the association between body image and alcohol use. Of interest was the extent to which alcohol outcome expectancies act as a moderator in this relationship, particularly in women. In Study 1, 421 college students (175 men, 246 women) provided self-report data on body image, social expressiveness expectancies, and average weekly alcohol use; the data were examined using a moderation model. Results showed that women with poor body image and high social expressiveness expectancies reported a significantly greater amount of average weekly alcohol consumption, whereas no such interaction was observed for men. Study 2 tested the same moderation model with 67 female participants; however, this second study utilized an in-lab behavioral measure of alcohol consumption as the outcome variable. The second study replicated results from Study 1, showing that women with overweight body image and alcohol-related high social expressiveness expectancies consumed significantly more beer during a taste rating task than women with other combinations of these variables. Taken together, the results of Studies 1 and 2 indicate that, specifically for women, an overweight body image and positive expectancies about the social, confidence-enhancing benefits of alcohol act as risk factors for excessive drinking.

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