Expectancies for alcohol to affect tension and anxiety as a function of time

Matt G. Kushner, Paul Thuras, Julie Kaminski, Nicole Anderson, Brooke Neumeyer, Thomas MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Alcohol outcome expectancies have been linked to drinking behavior on both empirical and theoretical grounds. Although typically measured as a static construct, we hypothesized that expectancies may be time-specific. Subjects rated their expectancies for a moderate amount of alcohol to increase, decrease, or not change their level of tension and anxiety. Ratings were repeated for when the intoxicating effects of the drinking would be: (1) 'at their peak;' (2) 'nearly worn off;' and (3) 'completely worn off' (Time Epochs 1-3, respectively). As predicted, most subjects (72%) expected alcohol to reduce tension and anxiety at Time Epoch 1; however, significantly fewer subjects expected this effect at Time Epochs 2 and 3 (25% and 2%, respectively). Conversely, few subjects expected alcohol to worsen tension and anxiety at Time Epoch 1 (3.5%); however, significantly more subjects expected this effect at Time Epochs 2 and 3 (31% and 34%, respectively). Expectancies for Time Epoch 1 related most strongly to several measures of alcohol use, including drinking for the purpose of reducing tension (whole sample) and drinking frequency (men but not women). These findings show that tension-reduction expectancies are not stable over the course of a drinking episode and suggest the possibility of a treatment approach aimed at amplifying attention to expectancies for alcohol's more negative longer-term effects. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by a grant from National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (AA09871) awarded to the first author.

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Expectancies
  • Tension reduction


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