Examining the Ecological Validity of the Prototype Willingness Model for Adolescent and Young Adult Alcohol Use


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Abstract

The present study is the first ecologically valid, daily level test of the prototype willingness model (PWM), a model previously tested with hypothetical scenarios to investigate the social reaction and reasoned pathways toward engaging in health-risk behavior. The purpose of the present study is to examine whether days with elevated alcohol-favorable PWM cognitions are also associated with greater intentions and willingness to drink and increased drinking behavior on that day. Participants included 15–25-year-olds (N = 124; 57.3% female; Mage =18.7; SD = 2.87) who were part of an ecological momentary assessment study on drinking cognitions (including willingness, intentions, perceived vulnerability, social norms, prototype favorability) and alcohol use, reported across 3 weeks. Analyses accounted for the multilevel structure of the data and the various outcome distributions. Findings supported and advanced the PWM by using real-time, real-world daily data that captured within-person variation of PWM cognitions across days and showed daily level associations between PWM cognitions and alcohol use and negative consequences among adolescents and young adults, thus supporting the social reaction and reasoned pathways at the daily level. Current results may improve interventions by precisely informing the use of technology to bring interventions to adolescents and young adults in moments when they are at highest risk (i.e., days with higher than usual PMW alcohol cognitions).

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