Prevention efforts targeted at children and adolescents are important because alcohol consumption contributes to the three leading causes of death in this among 12-20 year-olds: unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide. Research on the causes of alcohol misuse traditionally focused on pharmacological and genetic explanations, but models have expanded to include cognitive processes in the development of alcohol use patterns. Alcohol expectancies, or beliefs about the effects of alcohol, are an important influence on drinking behavior. Expectancies exist prior to the initial drinking experience, predict the onset of alcohol consumption, differentiate both children and adults in terms of light- and heavy-drinking patterns, mediate the influence of precursors on alcohol use, and when manipulated, result in significantly decreased alcohol consumption in heavy-drinking college students. The Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC) is a web-based, interactive intervention that leverages technology in order to challenge students' expectancies through a media literacy presentation based on research findings. The 45-minute curriculum links exposure to alcohol media with expectancy beliefs and drinking decisions, and focuses on decreasing the positive reinforcing value of alcohol. The ECALC does not necessarily erase former expectations, but introduces new information about the physiological effects of alcohol that may compete with pre-existing positive expectations for influence over the individual's behavior. Though the ECALC has been validated with college students, the present study involved revising and evaluating the program to be appropriate for high school students. Results revealed changes in expectancy processes for students who reported alcohol use initiation and changes in mean BAC among females in this group.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dietz, Alyssa, "Evaluation of the Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC) for High School Students" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5099.