Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- Florida, High school students -- Alcohol use -- Florida -- Prevention, Teenagers -- Alcohol use -- Florida -- Prevention


Alcohol use is the single most alarming behavior among youth in the United States. Adolescents especially are at risk for increases in heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness leading to alcohol-related problems such as academic failure, interpersonal violence, risky sexual behavior and death. In an effort to address this endemic issue, a number of alcohol use prevention programs have been developed and are currently implemented in the high school setting. Many of these programs, however, lack an empirical basis and have been unable to demonstrate significant reductions in alcohol use over time. The need for the development and dissemination of effective strategies to address adolescent drinking is evident. Recommendations for newly developing approaches encourage an emphasis on empiricallybased content and easily implemented protocols. Expectancy challenge-based interventions have been identified by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as having strong evidence supporting their effectiveness in reducing alcohol use among college students. Recent efforts to translate such programs into forms effective with high school adolescents have been met with mixed results. The focus of the present study was to modify, implement and evaluate the Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC), a program currently validated for use with college populations, for high school adolescents. The single session, high school version of the ECALC was infused into the existing Health Education high school curriculum and implemented with those in the 9th through 12th grades. Measures of alcohol expectancies and alcohol use were completed anonymously by each participant before delivery of the program and for 30 days thereafter. Impact of the ECALC was compared to classes randomly assigned to an attention-matched control condition. Findings revealed significant changes in alcohol expectancies and alcohol use reported by participants in the 11th and 12th grades following iv delivery of the ECALC. Changes were found across factor analytic and multidimensional scaling (MDS) statistical methods applied to the expectancy measure, as well as across measures of estimated intoxication and drinking quantity/frequency. Findings were consistent among both male and female participants. Reductions in alcohol use were not found among 9th and 10th grade participants, and expectancy changes were inconsistent. The assessment periods for baseline and follow-up were thirty days, which may reflect a limitation in that a longer follow-up may be more likely to capture significant behavioral changes over time. This study was the first to apply both factor analytic and MDS methods to analysis of the Comprehensive Effects of Alcohol questionnaire, with clear implications for expectancy measurement techniques likely to be most appropriate for capturing changes in expectancy activation patterns over time. Overall, this study represents an important advance in the development of an empirically-based and validated alcohol use prevention program effective for use with adolescents. In addition, the ECALC serves as a prevention program that is easily implemented in the high school setting, requiring only 50 minutes of class time, a classroom, and a motivated educator.


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Dunn, Michael E.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences










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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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