Alcohol expectancies as potential mediators of parent alcoholism effects on the development of adolescent heavy drinking

Craig R. Colder, Laurie Chassin, Eric M. Stice, Patrick J. Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This study used latent growth curve modeling to examine adolescent alcohol expectancies as potential mediators of the effects of parent alcoholism on escalation in adolescent heavy drinking. Data were drawn from a 3-year longitudinal study of a community sample of children of alcoholics (COAs) and demographically matched controls. Parent alcoholism had a direct effect on adolescent heavy drinking. Compared to non-COAs, COAs started out at higher initial levels of heavy drinking and increased their heavy drinking at a steeper rate over the three waves of measurement. However, expectancies concerning negative alcohol effects (negative expectancies) and expectancies concerning positive alcohol effects (positive expectancies) were unrelated to growth in adolescents' heavy drinking. Thus, alcohol expectancies did not mediate parent alcoholism effects on trajectories of adolescent drinking. There was some cross-sectional evidence that adolescents' positive expectancies mediated the effects of parent alcoholism on initial levels of adolescent heavy drinking. Children of alcoholic fathers reported higher levels of positive expectancies than did non-COAs, and positive expectancies predicted high initial levels of heavy drinking. Although weak adolescent negative expectancies were associated with high initial levels of alcohol use, they were unrelated to parent alcoholism. Implications of these findings for COA risk and escalation of heavy drinking in the adolescent years are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-374
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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