By altering one's appraisal of risky situations, alcohol use may increase the propensity for engaging in dangerous or illegal activities. In this series of studies, drinking habits, alcohol intoxication and alcohol expectancy will be investigated as determinants of risk appraisal, reported likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, and physiological responses to risky stimuli. In Study 1 questionnaire assessment will examine drinking habits, alcohol outcome expectancies, personality traits, age and gender as correlates of risk appraisal and reported frequency of engaging in risky behaviors. Study 2 will assess the effects of drinking habits and gender on pre- and post-drinking appraisals of written descriptions of 27 risky behaviors. Using videotaped stimuli, Experiments 3 - 5 will (a) investigate alcohol intoxication and alcohol expectancy as determinants of risk appraisal, and (b) conduct exploratory studies of the physiological correlates of risk appraisal. Study 3 will examine risk appraisal and physiological responses at two doses of alcohol, and for high, moderate and low risk stimuli. Experimental manipulation of beverage content and instruction in Study 4 will determine whether alcohol, or the belief that alcohol has been consumed, alters risk appraisal or reported likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. Last, in Study 5 individuals will be recruited who differ in their beliefs about the effects of drinking alcohol. These alcohol outcome expectancies will be assessed as determinants of risk appraisal, reported likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, and physiological responses to risky stimuli. In providing an understanding of the relation between alcohol and risk appraisal this research may facilitate development of risk-reduction programs, thereby alleviating some of our most significant medical and social problems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) Awards (R29)
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Clinical and Treatment Subcommittee (ALCP)
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University of Texas Austin
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Hartzler, Bryan; Fromme, Kim (2003) Fragmentary and en bloc blackouts: similarity and distinction among episodes of alcohol-induced memory loss. J Stud Alcohol 64:547-50
Hartzler, Bryan; Fromme, Kim (2003) Cognitive-behavioral profiles of college risk-takers with Type II and psychopathic personality traits. Addict Behav 28:315-26
Hartzler, Bryan; Fromme, Kim (2003) Heavy episodic drinking and college entrance. J Drug Educ 33:259-74
D'Amico, Elizabeth J; Fromme, Kim (2002) Brief prevention for adolescent risk-taking behavior. Addiction 97:563-74
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D'Amico, E J; Fromme, K (1997) Health risk behaviors of adolescent and young adult siblings. Health Psychol 16:426-32
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