Alcohol use and alcoholism are presently viewed as governed by antecedent factors that include childhood environment and genetically determined biological characteristics. Less attention has been paid, however, to how these antecedents influence later drinking. In addressing this issue, the psychosocial and biological literature both refer to acquired (learned) behavior, which is possibly influenced by differing reinforcement values of alcohol for different subsets of drinkers. It is, therefore, important to understand the precise nature of this learning and how it influences ongoing decisions about whether, and how much, to drink. Recent research on alcohol-related expectancy, considered in the context of cognitive (information processing) psychology, has opened a new research """"""""window"""""""" on this learning. Exploration of the antecedent factors which influence expectancy development is just beginning, however, and there has been no exploration of the operation of expectancies immediately proximal to actual drinking opportunities. The present project will comprehensively investigate whether alcohol expectancies may be one (mediational) mechanism by which psychosocial and biological antecedents these influence later drinking behavior. Three research strategies for investigating mediational relationships will be used. A prospective design, using covariance structure modeling (LISREL) techniques, will assess the capacity of alcohol expectancy to serve as a psychological mediator. Since expectancies are theorized to influence drinking at a point proximal to a drinking opportunity, a study of the feasibility of monitoring expectancies in the natural environment, proximal to actual drinking occasions, will be also undertaken. Finally, since the most powerful test of mediation is effective experimental manipulation, an extensive experimental challenge of alcohol expectancies will also be conducted. Specifically, this research program will: assess whether antecedent variables which have been shown to influence later drinking can be usefully understood as carrying over their influence by psychological/information processing mechanisms; increase our understanding of which antecedent variables most influence the psychological mechanisms; assess expectancy operation proximal to drinking decisions; test the possibility of actually manipulating drinking via challenging expectancies; and refine expectancy challenge procedures for application to primary and secondary prevention.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Clinical and Treatment Subcommittee (ALCP)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of South Florida
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Drobes, David J; Carter, Ashlee C; Goldman, Mark S (2009) Alcohol expectancies and reactivity to alcohol-related and affective cues. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 17:1-9
Reich, Richard R; Noll, Jane A; Goldman, Mark S (2005) Cue patterns and alcohol expectancies: how slight differences in stimuli can measurably change cognition. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 13:65-71
Greenbaum, Paul E; Del Boca, Frances K; Darkes, Jack et al. (2005) Variation in the drinking trajectories of freshmen college students. J Consult Clin Psychol 73:229-38
Sheffield, Felicia D; Darkes, Jack; Del Boca, Frances K et al. (2005) Binge drinking and alcohol-related problems among community college students: implications for prevention policy. J Am Coll Health 54:137-41
Reich, Richard R; Goldman, Mark S (2005) Exploring the alcohol expectancy memory network: the utility of free associates. Psychol Addict Behav 19:317-25
Del Boca, Frances K; Darkes, Jack; Greenbaum, Paul E et al. (2004) Up close and personal: temporal variability in the drinking of individual college students during their first year. J Consult Clin Psychol 72:155-64
Darkes, Jack; Greenbaum, Paul E; Goldman, Mark S (2004) Alcohol expectancy mediation of biopsychosocial risk: complex patterns of mediation. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 12:27-38
Reich, Richard R; Goldman, Mark S; Noll, Jane A (2004) Using the false memory paradigm to test two key elements of alcohol expectancy theory. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 12:102-10
Kramer, Dennis A; Goldman, Mark S (2003) Using a modified Stroop task to implicitly discern the cognitive organization of alcohol expectancies. J Abnorm Psychol 112:171-5
Wiers, Reinout W; Stacy, Alan W; Ames, Susan L et al. (2002) Implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 26:129-37

Showing the most recent 10 out of 28 publications