The subjective effects of alcohol scale: Development and psychometric evaluation of a novel assessment tool for measuring subjective response to alcohol

Meghan E. Morean, William Corbin, Teresa A. Treat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Three decades of research demonstrate that individual differences in subjective response (SR) to acute alcohol effects predict heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems. However, the SR patterns conferring the greatest risk remain under debate. Morean and Corbin (2010) highlighted that extant SR measures commonly have limitations within the following areas: assessment of a comprehensive range of effects, assessment of effects over the complete course of a drinking episode, and/or psychometric validation. Furthermore, the consistent pairing of certain SR measures and theoretical models has made integration of findings difficult. To address these issues, we developed the Subjective Effects of Alcohol Scale (SEAS), a novel, psychometrically sound SR measure for use in alcohol administration studies. Pilot data ensured that the SEAS comprised a comprehensive range of effects that varied in terms of valence and arousal and were perceived as plausible effects of drinking. For validation purposes, the SEAS was included in a 2-site, placebo-controlled, alcohol administration study (N = 215). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses identified a 14-item, 4-factor model categorizing effects into affective quadrants (high/low arousal positive; high/low arousal negative). SEAS scores evidenced the following: (a) scalar measurement invariance by limb of the blood alcohol curve (BAC) and beverage condition; (b) good internal consistency; (c) convergence/divergence with extant SR measures, alcohol expectancies, and alcohol use; and (d) concurrent/incremental utility in accounting for alcohol-related outcomes, highlighting the novel high arousal negative and low arousal positive subscales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-795
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013



  • Alcohol effects
  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Measurement development
  • Measurement invariance
  • Subjective response to alcohol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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