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Monday, May 17, 2010

Exploring the role of positive and negative consequences in understanding perceptions and evaluations of individual drinking events

While research has established that drinking more alcohol is associated with experiencing more positive and negative alcohol-related consequences, less is known about how college students evaluate their drinking experiences. Evaluations of drinking events may vary with factors such as how much one drinks, which consequences one experiences, and the context (i.e., where and with whom) one drinks on a given occasion.

This research used daily data (Level 2: N = 166 students, 61% female; Level 1: N = 848 person drinking days) to explore the relationship between quantity of alcohol consumed and experience of specific domains of positive and negative consequences and to examine how the experience of specific consequences related to overall evaluation of the drinking experience.

Drinking on a given day was positively associated with experiencing more negative (social and personal) and more positive (image, fun/social, and relaxation) consequences. With respect to the formation of overall impressions, negative (social and personal) consequences were associated with less favorable evaluations whereas positive (image, fun/social, and relaxation) consequences were associated with more favorable evaluations of the drinking experience.

Indirect effects analyses suggested that consequences (negative personal, negative social, positive fun/social, and positive relaxation) significantly mediated the relationship between drinking and overall evaluation at the daily level.

These results underscore the importance of considering both positive and negative consequences in understanding students' choices to drink and how they evaluate their experiences.

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