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The Moderating Effects of Gender and Ethnicity on the Relationship between Effect Expectancies and Alcohol Problems
Patrick B. Johnson, Marc Glassman
Objective: Research has demonstrated that alcohol outcome expectancies moderate the relationship between psychological states such as stress and negative affect and alcohol use. This study examined whether the relationship between expectancies and alcohol problems would be moderated by gender and ethnicity. Method: Using a household survey format, personal interviews were conducted with Puerto Rican and Irish American men and women. The final sample consisted of 412 (231 male) Puerto Ricans and 476 (252 male) Irish Americans. Alcohol expectancies were measured with the Effects of Drinking Alcohol Scale. All subjects resided in the New York metropolitan area. The original study was designed to compare the drinking behaviors and alcohol-related beliefs of groups with varied drinking practices and distinct drinking beliefs. Results: Both gender and ethnicity moderated the links between aggressive and self-control expectancies and drinking problems. For example, anticipated loss of control from drinking was more negatively related to Puerto Rican and female alcohol problems than it was to Irish and male problems. Conclusions: The present findings suggest that whether an outcome expectancy is associated with more alcohol problems depends upon the particular meaning of the outcome. This meaning, in turn, depends upon an individual's particular sociocultural perspective which is associated with such personal characteristics as gender and ethnicity. (J. Stud. Alcohol 60: 64-69, 1999)