Alcohol-induced disinhibition expectancies and impaired control as prospective predictors of problem drinking in undergraduates

Psychol Addict Behav. 2009 Dec;23(4):553-63. doi: 10.1037/a0017129.


Trait disinhibition is associated with problem drinking and alcohol drinking can bring about a state of disinhibition. It is unclear however, if expectancies of alcohol-induced disinhibition are unique predictors of problem drinking. Impaired control (i.e., difficulty in limiting alcohol consumption) may be related to disinhibition expectancies in that both involve issues of control related to alcohol use. Data from a prospective survey of undergraduates assessed during freshman (N = 337) and senior year (N = 201) were analyzed to determine whether subscales of the Drinking-Induced Disinhibition Scale (Leeman, Toll, & Volpicelli, 2007) and the Impaired Control Scale (Heather et al., 1993) predicted unique variance in heavy episodic drinking and alcohol-related problems. In Time 1 cross-sectional models, Dysphoric disinhibition expectancies predicted alcohol-related problems and impaired control predicted both alcohol-related problems and heavy episodic drinking. In prospective models, Time 1 impaired control predicted Time 2 alcohol-related problems and Time 1 Euphoric/social Disinhibition expectancies predicted Time 2 heavy episodic drinking. These findings suggest that expectancies of alcohol-induced disinhibition and impaired control predict unique variance in problem drinking cross-sectionally and prospectively, and that these phenomena should be targeted in early intervention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethanol / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Environment
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol