Alcohol Expectancies and Their Relationship to Actual Drinking Experiences

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Alcohol expectancies have been shown to correlate with and predict drinking behavior. However, little is known about the relationship between alcohol expectancies and actual drinking experiences. The present study investigated this relationship. Small groups of normal drinkers (N = 44) participated in a social task in both drinking and nondrinking conditions and rated their subjective experiences and their perception of experiences of other group members along seven alcohol expectancy dimensions. In the drinking condition (.5 gm/kg ethanol), subjects rated their experiences as being positively enhanced on those dimensions predicted by the expectancy literature, but did not report experiencing the negative cognitive and motor effects associated with alcohol consumption. Thus, in social situations, individuals' alcohol expectancies and experiences coincide for socially relevant variables, but do not for variables related to cognitive skills.

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