Do alcohol consequences serve as teachable moments? A test of between-and within-person reciprocal effects from college age to adulthood

Jack T. Waddell, Ariel Sternberg, Kevin J. Grimm, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Several studies find between-person reciprocal relations between adolescent/college drinking and positive expectancies. However, drinking and expectancies from college into adulthood are largely unstudied, as are within-person associations. During these age periods, negative alcohol consequences may represent “teachable moments” via expectancy change. The current study tested the reciprocal effects of drinking, negative consequences, and expectancies from college age to adulthood. Method: Using data from a longitudinal study focused on familial alcohol disorder, age bands were created to model effects from college age (18–22) to young adulthood (23–28) and adulthood (29–34). Participants (N = 420) reported on their drinking, negative consequences, and expectancies across three waves (1995–2010). Results: Negative consequences did not predict negative expectancies, but the random intercepts of the two were highly related. Young adult negative consequences predicted a within-person increase in adult heavy drinking. A within-person increase in college age negative expectancies indirectly predicted a within-person decrease in adult negative consequences through reduced young adult drinking, whereas within-person increases in college age positive expectancies indirectly predicted a within-person increase in adult negative consequences through heavier young adult drinking. Conclusions: Findings suggest that negative consequences were related to trait-level negative expectancies, even though prospective effects were not observed. Findings also suggest that college age negative expectancies were protective against future use and consequences, and this effect was unique to college age. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 82, 647–658, 2021).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-658
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Volume82
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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