Measuring Developmental Changes in Alcohol Expectancies

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The goal of this study was to measure shifts in alcohol expectancies from childhood into adolescence while controlling for changes in the psychometric properties of the instrument. One thousand nine hundred ninety-three 4th-grade and 1,632 9th-grade students from South Dakota rated the likelihood that 23 outcomes would result from alcohol use. These expectancies were modeled using a 2-factor confirmatory factor analysis. After differences in the psychometric properties of the instrument were controlled, the cohorts were distinguished by a large difference in Alcohol Positivity, with older participants viewing alcohol's effects more positively. Additionally, older participants displayed greater Alcohol Potency, believing that alcohol has a larger impact on all outcomes. There were also significant differences in the interpretation of the alcohol expectancies items across cohorts.

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