Impulsivity is not always associated with student drinking: A moderation study of impulsivity and drinking by positive alcohol expectancies

Scott R. Carlson, Season C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Student drinking is a major problem on North American campuses and impulsivity is a significant risk factor for heavy drinking. The present study investigates the moderation of the impulsivity-drinking relationship by the expectation that having a drink will lead to positive experiences. Undergraduate drinkers (n = 292) completed measures of impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale 11; BIS-11), positive drinking expectancies, and alcohol use. Expectancies moderated the relationship between BIS-11 scores and alcohol use. BIS-11 scores were significantly related to typical alcohol quantity, frequency, quantity X frequency, and binge drinking frequency for individuals with average and high levels of positive expectancies, but not for those with few positive expectancies. Implications for interventions targeted at highly impulsive students, using expectancy modification are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The contributions of the second author were supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Master's Scholarship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. Neither UBC, UMD nor SSHRC had a role in the study design; data collection, analysis or interpretation; writing of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the paper for publication. The first author designed the study and protocol. The first and second authors contributed to analysis and interpretation of the data, with the first author being chiefly responsible for these contributions. Both authors have approved of the final manuscript.

Funding Information:
Data collection for this study was supported by faculty start-up funds supplied to the first author by the University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Arts. Further support in writing this report came from summer salary provided by the College of Education and Human Service Professions, University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to SRC.


  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Impulsivity
  • Personality
  • Student drinking


Dive into the research topics of 'Impulsivity is not always associated with student drinking: A moderation study of impulsivity and drinking by positive alcohol expectancies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this