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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1994 Aug;18(4):852-60.

Anxiety and drinking behavior: moderating effects of tension-reduction alcohol outcome expectancies.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


We evaluated whether alcohol outcome expectancies moderate the association between measures of anxiety and alcohol use. Student subjects completed questionnaires related to their level of anxiety, recent alcohol-use patterns, and outcome expectancies for alcohol to be tension reducing. Interviews were used to determine the presence or absence of alcohol dependence in subjects and in their first- and second-degree relatives. Consistent with predictions, male subjects with high tension-reduction alcohol outcome expectancies showed a stronger positive correlation between measures of anxiety and drinking behavior than did male subjects with low tension-reduction outcome expectancies. However, this effect was not found for female subjects. We note past studies showing similar gender effects, and relate the overall study findings to the tension-reduction hypothesis of stress-induced drinking.

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