Advancing the Expectancy Concept via the Interplay Between Theory and Research

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Expectancy Theory, Expectancy Measurement, Alcohol Use, Behavior Change, Acquired Preparedness

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Four papers from a 2001 Research Society on Alcoholism symposium on expectancy theory and research are summarized. The symposium contributors describe recent advances in expectancy theory and discuss their implications for assessment and for understanding the processes of development and change in the behavioral domain of alcohol use. First, findings are integrated across the diverse domains in which the expectancy concept has been applied. Second, the implications of expectancy theory for the measurement of expectancy structure and process are examined. Third, research and theory regarding alcohol expectancy development and change are presented, with an emphasis on the role of expectancies as mediators of known antecedents of drinking. Finally, an experimental procedure for investigating the causal role of expectancies is described, together with its implications for theory testing and prevention or intervention programming. Collectively, the symposium contributions demonstrate the utility of an integrated expectancy theory for the generation of innovative research operations and new insights regarding behavior development and change. Consistent with the notion of consilience, expectancy theory has demonstrated a convergence of findings across different levels of analysis, as well as across different operations, methods, and research designs.

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Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, v. 26, issue 6, p. 926-935