Cover: Socio-environmental Influences on Adolescents' Alcohol Outcome Expectancies

Socio-environmental Influences on Adolescents' Alcohol Outcome Expectancies

A Prospective Analysis

Published in: Addiction, v. 101, no. 7, July 2006, p. 971-983

Posted on 2006

by Steven C. Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Phyllis L. Ellickson, Terry L. Schell, Daniel F. McCaffrey

AIMS: To investigate the prospective influence of social influence and social bonding variables on the development of alcohol outcome expectancies among adolescents with and without drinking experience. DESIGN: Longitudinal data from students in the control schools of a field trial designed to evaluate a school-based drug prevention program. SETTING: A total of 19 middle schools in South Dakota, USA. MEASUREMENTS: An alcohol outcome expectancy scale administered to 1410 students in grades 8 and 9. After using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to develop an expectancies measure, multiple-group (grade 8 drinkers versus grade 8 non-drinkers) path analysis was used to model 9th grade alcohol expectancies. Grade 8 social influence and bonding variables were used as predictors, controlling for grade 8 expectancies. FINDINGS: At the bivariate level, peer and adult influences and social bonding variables were related consistently to alcohol outcome expectancies among drinkers and non-drinkers. A bivariate relationship between alcohol advertising and alcohol expectancies was found among drinkers only. In the multivariate model, greater alcohol use by important adults predicted independently increased alcohol positivity among drinkers; greater perceived approval of alcohol use by parents and peers predicted diminished perceived potency of alcohol among non-drinkers. Advertisement exposure and social bonding variables were not independent predictors of alcohol expectancies in the multivariate model. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that attempts to alter adolescents' alcohol expectancies are likely to fail unless they address the influence of immediate social models on these beliefs.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.