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Alcohol expectancies and drinking behaviors in Mexican Americans: Investigating the role of acculturation and gender

Byron Lopez Zamboanga, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The term “expectancy” in the alcohol literature is commonly referred to as the anticipated effects of alcohol use. The present investigation had three goals. The first goal was to examine the validity of the expectancy concept with Mexican American college students (N = 107). The second goal was to investigate how different aspects of acculturative status are systematically associated with alcohol use and drinking expectancies in this population. The third goal was to examine whether the relations between acculturative status and alcohol use and drinking expectancies are similar for men and women. Results showed that students who endorsed drinking expectancies of physical and social pleasure and increased social assertiveness were likely to engage in frequent heavy alcohol use, consume high quantities of alcohol, and imbibe in less personal settings. These findings highlight the predictive utility of drinking expectancies in Mexican American college students. No relation was found between acculturative status and alcohol consumption. However, follow-up analyses revealed that first-generation students consumed less alcohol and were less likely to engage in frequent binge drinking than later-generation students. Findings also revealed that more acculturated students endorsed the expectancy that alcohol increases social assertiveness. The relation between acculturative status and drinking expectancies were similar for men and women, however different patterns emerged regarding alcohol consumption. Less acculturated Mexican American men consumed higher levels of alcohol, whereas the opposite was found among Mexican American women: highly acculturated Mexican American women consumed more alcohol. Although these gender findings were marginally significant, such trends highlight the influence of both gender and acculturative status on alcohol consumption in Latino populations. A discussion of the theoretical and methodological implications of the current findings is presented. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Health Sciences, Public Health|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Zamboanga, Byron Lopez, "Alcohol expectancies and drinking behaviors in Mexican Americans: Investigating the role of acculturation and gender" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092609.