An experimental test of an alcohol expectancy challenge in mixed gender groups of young heavy drinkers

Addict Behav. 2004 Jan;29(1):215-20. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(03)00081-9.


Several studies have shown that a multisession experiential expectancy challenge successfully reduces positive alcohol expectancies and alcohol use in heavy drinking young men, but this has not been shown for heavy drinking young women. Main aim of this study was to test the effect of a multisession expectancy challenge in mixed gender groups of young heavy drinkers. Twenty-five (11 males) heavy drinking students were randomly assigned to the expectancy challenge or control condition (the challenge was adapted to be more suitable for women). Positive expectancies decreased significantly in the experimental but not in the control group. In the experimental group, positive expectancies decreased significantly more in women than in men, and alcohol use showed a statistical trend in the same direction. These findings are the first to indicate that a multisession expectancy challenge may result in reduced positive expectancies and alcohol consumption in young heavy drinking women. An important next question is whether a single experiential session could be effective because recruitment for a multisession challenge proved difficult, which is problematic for further implementation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Patient Compliance
  • Set, Psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology