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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alcohol expectancy challenges for college students: A narrative review

Heavy alcohol use among college students has become a substantial health concern. With national survey data indicating that 40% of college students report consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at least monthly (Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2009), prevention and intervention programs are needed to address this problem. 

The Task Force on College Drinking, commissioned by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), designated alcohol expectancy challenges (ECs) as a recommended treatment strategy to reduce alcohol use among college students (NIAAA, 2002). 

This paper is a systematic critical review of the studies that have been conducted to assess for the efficacy of ECs among college students with a focus on changes in expectancies and alcohol consumption, and possible differences in efficacy for men and women. 

The review revealed that ECs were most efficacious when administered to male-only groups of participants; while ECs for female-only and mixed-gender groups demonstrated less consistent results. 

The implications of the findings of this critical review for the direction of future research are discussed.

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