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Alcohol expectancies and substance abuse in socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents and young adults

Adams, Steven Lloyd
Relationships between alcohol expectancies and psychoactive substance abuse were investigated in a low socioeconomic status population of adolescents and young adults. Subjects were 60 new enrollees in a residential educational-vocational training center, the majority of whom were of minority ethnic status and had less than a 12th grade education. Subjects were selected to form gender-balanced substance abusing, minimal substance using, and abstaining groups. Differences among these three groups in expectations of positive effects from alcohol use were assessed. Results indicated that substance abusers held higher positive expectations than did abstainers on five of the six expectancy scales; Global Positive Changes, Sexual Enhancement, Physical and Social Pleasure, Social Assertion, and Tension Reduction. Substance abusers also held greater cognitive expectations than did minimal substance users with respect to sexual arousal and tension reduction. Greater expectations for physical and social pleasure were found among minimal users as compared to abstainers.