Introduction: The present study sought to further understand the association between caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) use and alcohol-related risks. In particular, we focused on the role of two identified expectancies specific to CAB use: intoxication enhancement and avoidance of negative consequences. Although outcome expectancies are consistent predictors of substance use, limited research has examined expectancies related to CAB use and their association with alcohol-related behaviors, such as protecting themselves from alcohol-related harms. Consequently, the present study examined CAB-specific expectancies and protective behavioral strategies (PBS) as mediators of CAB use and negative consequences. Methods: Participants were 322 (219 women) college drinkers who completed self-report measures of typical CAB and alcohol use, CAB-specific expectancies, PBS use, and alcohol-related harms. Results: Structural equation modeling revealed, after controlling for typical non-CAB heavy alcohol use, a significant indirect effect of CAB use to alcohol-related problems through avoidance of negative consequences CAB expectancies and PBS use. However, intoxication enhancement expectancies did not mediate this association. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that heavier CAB use was associated with stronger expectations that drinking CABs can help avoid negative consequences. These beliefs were related to using fewer PBS when drinking and a greater likelihood of experiencing problems. Given that these expectancies may be underlying mechanisms of CAB use, their inclusion in existing alcohol interventions may be beneficial.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health