The role of adolescent social disinhibition expectancies in moderating the relationship between psychological distress and alcohol use and misuse

Addict Behav. 2007 Feb;32(2):282-95. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.04.001. Epub 2006 Jun 27.


We examined the effects of adolescent social disinhibition expectancies and adult psychological distress on alcohol use and misuse in adulthood, using the 1970 British Cohort Study data. Multivariate imputation by chained equations filled in incomplete cases for 7023 men and 6896 women. A propensity to heavy alcohol use and misuse was predicted by social expectations of the releasing effects of alcohol acquired in adolescence (adolescent social disinhibition expectancies). Psychological distress at age 30 increased the likelihood of very heavy alcohol use in men and misuse of alcohol in men and women. An absence of adolescent social disinhibition expectancies protects adults from drinking alcohol. Moreover, among men without these expectancies, psychological distress did not predict heavy alcohol use, whereas this association was present among men with expectations of alcohol. Policies that aim to manage adult alcohol use should be initiated in adolescence. Reduction of psychological distress will prevent both men and women from misusing alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholism / etiology*
  • Attitude*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychology, Adolescent / methods*
  • Social Behavior*
  • United Kingdom