The Anticipated Effects of Alcohol Scale: Development and psychometric evaluation of a novel assessment tool for measuring alcohol expectancies

Meghan E. Morean, William Corbin, Teresa A. Treat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Alcohol expectancy (AEs) research has enhanced our understanding of how anticipated alcohol effects confer risk for heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems. However, extant AE measures have limitations within 1 or more of the following areas: assessing a comprehensive range of effects, specifying the hypothetical number of drinks consumed, assessing AEs by limb of the blood alcohol curve (BAC), and/or not having undergone psychometric evaluation. Building upon the strengths of existing measures, we employed conceptual and statistical advances in measurement development to create the novel, psychometrically sound Anticipated Effects of Alcohol Scale (AEAS). Unique to this study, pilot data ensured that the AEAS comprised a comprehensive sampling of effects that varied in valence (positive/negative) and arousal (low/high) and were identified as plausible outcomes of drinking. The AEAS specified the number of drinks individuals imagined consuming (adjusted for sex) and the hypothetical drinking episode length (2 hr). AEs were also assessed separately by BAC limb. For validation purposes, the AEAS was included in several survey studies of young adults (ages 18-30). The validity argument for the proposed interpretation of AEAS test scores was based upon the following: (a) exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (N = 546) identified a 22-item, 4-factor internal structure, categorizing alcohol effects into quadrants (high/low arousal crossed with positive/negative valence); (b) scalar measurement invariance was established for BAC limb, sex, and binge drinking status; (c) convergence/divergence was observed with alternative AEs measures and mood; and (d) test-criterion relationships were observed with several alcohol-related outcomes. The reliability argument was based on test-retest and internal consistency coefficients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1023
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Blood alcohol curve
  • Measurement development
  • Measurement invariance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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