Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Robert C. Coon


In an extension of Brown, Creamer and Stetson (1987), this study investigated the relationships between components of family life, adolescent drinking and alcohol expectancies. Alcohol expectancies are defined as the learned associations between alcohol consumption and the results of drinking. Out of 73 adolescent (12- to 18-year old) subjects screened, 55 met criteria and participated in two comparisons with multiple dependent variables. In the first of these, 15 subjects who were exposed to alcoholics for at least 75% of their lives were found to have stronger expectations that alcohol would provide cognitive and motor enhancement than did 15 matched subjects who had been exposed to alcoholics for 25% of their lives or less. However, these groups did not differ in other alcohol expectancies or in drinking patterns. In the second comparison, there were no significant differences in alcohol expectancies or drinking patterns between two groups of 15 subjects that differed in genetic family history of alcoholism. Data from all 55 subjects were used in several regressions. One determined that the combined alcohol expectancies were significantly related to the severity of parental alcohol problems to which the adolescents were exposed. A stepwise regression found that expectations of changes in social behavior and expectations of cognitive and motor enhancement were the best predictors of drinking pattern. These results provide moderate support for a model which suggests that adolescents' alcohol expectancies are partially learned within the family and that these expectancies mediate adolescent alcohol use.