Negative Alcohol Expectancies Reconsidered

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Much research has been conducted over the last 10 to 15 years on the theory and measurement of alcohol expectancies. Numerous studies have demonstrated that alcohol expectancies are related to the drinking patterns of adults and adolescents. Almost all of this research has focused on anticipated positive effects of alcohol and has given less attention to expected negative effects. There are some data, however, that support the contention that negative alcohol expectancies may also play an important role in alcohol use, abuse/dependence, or abstinence. Nevertheless, there is current controversy about the relative importance of negative expectations in alcohol expectancy research. This article seeks to stimulate increased attention to these negative alcohol expectancies. Justification for this position is offered in the context of information on questionnaire measurement of alcohol expectancies, data supporting the contribution of negative expectancies, and valuation of expectancies.

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