Examining Alcohol Outcome Expectancies in Laboratory and Naturalistic Bar Settings: A Within-Subject Experimental Analysis


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Abstract

Using a within-subject design, this study investigated the situational-specificity hypothesis, namely that alcohol outcome expectancies (AOEs), subjective evaluations of AOEs, and the speed with which AOEs are accessed from memory vary as a function of environmental setting. Thirty-nine undergraduates (20 women), of legal drinking age, responded to the Comprehensive Effects of Alcohol questionnaire (K. Fromme, E. Stroot, & D. Kaplan, 1993) that was presented on a laptop computer in 2 counterbalanced contexts: a laboratory setting and an on-campus bar. Response latencies served as dependent measures for memory accessibility. Consistent with previous research (A.-M. Wall, S. A. McKee, & R. E. Hinson, 2000), evidence in support of the situational-specificity hypothesis was found. Specifically, environmental context influenced undergraduates' expectations concerning alcohol's effects and subjective evaluations of AOEs, as well as the speed with which specific AOEs were accessed from memory. Overall, these findings suggest the need for greater attention to situational variation in AOEs.

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