Drinking in College Students and Their Age Peers: The Role of Anticipatory Processes

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Book Chapter

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alcohol drinking, college students, age peers, anticipatory processes, developmental processes


Because time always moves forward, behavioral processes are anticipatory in nature; that is, they produce behaviors geared toward accommodating events that have yet to occur. Anticipation clearly plays an influential rolein human behavior, and work in a multitude of psychological areas has converged on this perspective. Two recent reviews broadly illustrate this point: First, as a result of a vast amount of neuroscientific research, Holland and Gallagher (2004) described a shift in the conventional viewpoint on the function of human cognition: "The utility of learning and memory lies not in reminiscence about the past, but in allowing us to act in anticipation of future events" (p. 148). Second, and even more applicable to the material in this book, in summarizing the many theories on decision making with regard to addiction, Redish, Jensen, and Johnson (2008) identified a single common thread: "These literatures have converged on the concept that decisions are based on the prediction of value or expected utility of the decision" (p. 147). The purpose of this chapter is to show that developmental processes that occur in both college students and their same-age peers lead these young people to anticipate social and sexual benefits from using alcohol. These expectations may then consciously and unconsciously influence the decision to drink in this age group.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Drinking in College Students and Their Age Peers: The Role of Anticipatory Processes, in H. R. White & D. L. Rabiner (Eds.), College Drinking and Drug Use, Guilford Press, p. 105-120