Alcohol Outcome Expectancies as Socially Shared and Socialized Beliefs

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Alcohol expectancies are important predictors of alcohol involvement in both adolescents and adults, yet little research has examined the social origins and transmission of these beliefs. This paper examined alcohol outcome expectancies collected in a cohort-sequential longitudinal study of 452 families with children followed over seven waves. Children completed interviews every 6 months, and parents completed interviews annually. Eighteen of 27 alcohol expectancies were highly consensual, being endorsed by significantly more than 67% of the mothers and fathers. These consensual expectancies were also highly stable over a 3-year period. Over the same period, children increased their adoption of both the positive and negative consensual alcohol expectancies. Unconditional latent growth modeling showed that piece-wise growth models with a transition at age 12 fit the data best. Both the positive and negative consensual expectancies were adopted at a faster rate between ages 8.5 and 11.5 than between ages 12 and 13.5. For negative expectancies, there was no further growth between ages 12 and 13.5. Taken together, these findings support the conceptualization of alcohol outcome expectancies as socially shared and transmitted beliefs.

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