A comprehensive longitudinal test of the acquired preparedness model for alcohol use and related problems

William Corbin, Derek K. Iwamoto, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: According to the acquired preparedness model (APM), personality traits related to disinhibition (i.e., impulsivity and sensation seeking) may influence the learning process, contributing to individual differences in cognitions (e.g., expectations about outcomes) that may contribute to engagement in and consequences of risk behaviors, including alcohol use. Although there is strong support for the APM, longitudinal studies have involved short-term follow-ups, and the relevance of the APM for alcohol-related consequences has not been clearly established. Method: Participants were 2,245 (59.9% female) incoming freshmen who completed the first of eight web-based surveys during the summer before college matriculation. Structural equation modeling was used to test a comprehensive longitudinal APM for both alcohol use and related consequences. Multigroup models were used to examine measurement and structural invariance by gender. Results: Positive (but not negative) alcohol expectancies during freshman year of college partially mediated the relation between senior year of high school disinhibition and both alcohol use and related problems during the fourth year of college, and multigroup models suggested that the relationships proposed in the APM operated similarly for women and men. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the temporal relations proposed in the APM across a longer period (4 years) than in previous studies among a large sample of ethnically diverse students. Further, the results are the first to validate the APM with respect to drinking consequences while controlling for levels of alcohol use. The results lend support for brief interventions targeting positive alcohol expectancies, particularly for individuals high in trait disinhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-610
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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