The role of alcohol expectations in the co-occurrence of alcohol-related problems with anxiety and depressive traits in a juvenile correction sample
Alcohol-related expectations have been defined as the anticipated consequences from consuming alcohol (Brown, Goldman, Inn, & Anderson, 1980). Previous research has been conducted to examine the role of alcohol expectations in the co-occurrence of alcohol problems with anxiety and depressive symptoms. In the current study, the relationship between alcohol problems, anxiety and depressive traits, and alcohol expectancies were examined within a male juvenile correction sample. Specifically, statistical analyses were conducted to test the degree to which alcohol expectancies combined with anxiety/depression traits improve the prediction of alcohol-related problems beyond that of anxiety/depression traits alone. Archival data were collected from 205 incarcerated male adolescents who completed both the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire -- Adolescent Form (AEQ-A) and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory--Adolescent (MMPI-A). Two research hypotheses were tested using correlation and regression analyses. The results demonstrated that depressive traits significantly predicted an increase in alcohol-related problems, and the addition of expectancies related to global positive changes and increased social behavior produced a significant gain in the prediction of alcohol problems. Furthermore, anxiety traits significantly predicted an increase in alcohol-related problems, and the inclusion of tension reduction expectancies yielded a significant gain in prediction. The results suggest that alcohol-related problems may be exacerbated by the presence of reinforcement-based expectancies in male juvenile offenders who are concurrently experiencing elevated levels of anxiety and depressive traits. These findings have implications for prevention and treatment programs that utilize cognitive-behavioral and expectancy challenge techniques to affect change in problematic alcohol consumption behaviors.