Empirical Modeling of an Alcohol Expectancy Memory Network in Elementary-School Children as a Function of Grade and Risk Status

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alcohol expectancies in memory network model, 2nd–5th graders

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Alcohol expectancies appear in children before drinking begins and mediate the effects of other drinking antecedents. Hence, application of memory models to expectancies in children may increase understanding of drinking initiation. To this end, an instrument to assess children's expectancies within a memory network model was developed and administered to 470 children in 2nd–5th grades. Multidimensional scaling analyses revealed that children generally organize expectancy information along the same evaluative and arousal–sedation dimensions as do adults, and older children become more likely to expect positive and arousing outcomes from drinking. These results suggest a cognitive process that prepares children for drinking initiation during adolescence as well as new, theory-based approaches to prevention.

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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, v. 4, issue 2, p. 209-217