Alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences among first-year college students: An examination of intraindividual variability and the role of alcohol expectancies
AuthorLee, Christine Mei Lan
AdvisorMaggs, Jennifer L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWhile much of the attention focused on college alcohol use has been on the prevalence of heavy drinking and alcohol-related physical and behavioral harm, little is known about individual drinkers' experiences with alcohol, that is, their fluctuations in alcohol consumption and consequences over time. The present study used an intensive repeated measures within-person design to explore the extent to which intraindividual variation in the experience of alcohol-related consequences was a function of frequency of intoxication and the role alcohol expectancies played in those relationships. Across 10 consecutive weeks in one semester, 200 first-year college students completed weekly telephone interviews. Testing hypotheses based on harm reduction principles, hierarchical linear models were used to examine: (1) whether the concept of the point of diminished returns applied to first-year college students' alcohol use, and (2) whether there was an expectancy effect in the relationship between frequency of intoxication and the experience of alcohol-related consequences. Within-person (Level 1) analyses examined whether students' reports of heavy alcohol use were associated with a differential likelihood of experiencing positive and negative consequences compared to when moderate amounts of alcohol were consumed. Between-person (Level 2) analyses examined the extent to which within-person co-variation between alcohol use and consequences was moderated by alcohol expectancies. The results supported the general hypothesis of harm reduction, that negative consequences were minimized with low to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption. In contrast, positive consequences increased with more days of intoxication, not supporting the concept of the point of diminished returns in this population. Finally, an expectancy effect was found for moderate drinking weeks, but not for intoxicated drinking weeks. Students who felt it was more important to experience positive and to avoid experiencing negative consequences reported more positive and fewer negative consequences on weeks of moderate drinking. Discussion focuses on implications for harm reduction in general and programming targeted for the college population.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family and Consumer Sciences