Risk Factors for Elementary School Drinking: Pubertal Status, Personality, and Alcohol Expectancies Concurrently Predict Fifth Grade Alcohol Consumption

Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, USA.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (Impact Factor: 2.75). 12/2010; 24(4):617-27. DOI: 10.1037/a0020334
Source: PubMed


Little is known about the correlates and potential causes of very early drinking. The authors proposed this risk theory: (a) pubertal onset is associated with increased levels of positive urgency (the tendency to act rashly when experiencing intensely positive mood), negative urgency (the tendency to act rashly when distressed), and sensation seeking; (b) those traits predict increased endorsement of high-risk alcohol expectancies; (c) the expectancies predict drinker status among fifth graders; and (d) the apparent influence of positive urgency, negative urgency, and sensation seeking on drinker status is mediated by alcohol expectancies. The authors conducted a concurrent test of whether the relationships among these variables were consistent with the theory in a sample of 1,843 fifth grade students. In a well-fitting structural model, their hypotheses were supported. Drinker status among fifth graders is not just a function of context and factors external to children: it is predictable from a combination of pubertal status, personality characteristics, and learned alcohol expectancies.

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Available from: Rachel L Gunn, Sep 02, 2014
    • "Much of the prior research on adolescent alcohol appraisals has focused on positive expectancies (perceived likelihood of positive outcomes from drinking). This work suggests that parental and peer alcohol use, perceived parental approval of drinking, exposure to alcohol outlets in the community, alcohol use, behavioral approach, and sensation seeking all influence positive alcohol expectancies (e.g., Cumsille, Sayer, & Graham, 2000; Gunn & Smith, 2010; Lopez-Vergara et al., 2012; Martino, Collins, Ellickson, Schell, & McCaffrey, 2006; Settles, Zapolski, & Smith, 2014; Zamboanga, Schwartz, Ham, Jarvis, & Olthuis, 2009). However, few studies have considered the development of negative expectancies (perceived likelihood of negative outcomes from drinking; see Donovan, Molina, & Kelly, 2009; Lopez-Vergara et al., 2012, for exceptions ). "
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    ABSTRACT: Early adolescence is a dynamic period for the development of alcohol appraisals (expected outcomes of drinking and subjective evaluations of expected outcomes), yet the literature provides a limited understanding of psychosocial factors that shape these appraisals during this period. This study took a comprehensive view of alcohol appraisals and considered positive and negative alcohol outcome expectancies, as well as subjective evaluations of expected outcomes. Developmental-ecological theory guided examination of individual, peer, family, and neighborhood predictors of cognitive appraisals of alcohol and use. A community sample of 378 adolescents ( age 11.5 years at Wave 1 (W1), 52% female) was assessed annually for 4 years. Longitudinal path analysis suggested that the most robust predictors of alcohol appraisals were peer norms. Furthermore, perceived likelihood of positive and negative alcohol outcomes prospectively predicted increases in drinking. There was limited support for appraisals operating as mediators of psychosocial risk and protective factors.
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    • ", 2011 ; Cranford et al . , 2010 ; Gunn & Smith , 2010 ) . "
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