Understanding Drinking Game Behaviors: A Consideration of Alcohol Expectancies and Motives to Play and Drink

Drinking motives have been theorized as “the final common pathway ” to alcohol use, and have been found to be associated with certain drinking patterns and related outcomes. Given the importance of the context in which people drink, researchers have also begun to pay close attention to motives that are specific to participation in a drinking game. The present study builds on this burgeoning body of work by testing how sociability and liquid courage alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations are indirectly associated with drinking game behaviors by way of drinking game motives. Participants consisted of 686 students from eight U.S. colleges/universities (ages 18-23, mean age = 19.45; 73.8% female; 68.2% white) who completed a self-report questionnaire which asked about drinking game behaviors and motives for playing, alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations, general drinking motives, and typical alcohol use. Controlling for demographics, general drinking motives, and typical alcohol use, results indicated that liquid courage (alcohol outcome expectancies) and sociability (alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations) were indirectly associated with drinking game behaviors by way of enhancement/thrills and social lubrication motives for playing drinking games, respectively. Findings suggest that motives specific to playing drinking games operate similarly to general drinking motives as the “final common pathway ” to drinking game behaviors. Implications for motivation-matched and expectancy challenge strategies aimed at reducing drinking games participation on college campuses are discussed. © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Drinking motives have been theorized as “the final common pathway ” to alcohol use, and have been found to be associated with certain drinking patterns and related outcomes. Given the importance of the context in which people drink, researchers have also begun to pay close attention to motives that are specific to participation in a drinking game. The present study builds on this burgeoning body of work by testing how sociability and liquid courage alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations are indirectly associated with drinking game behaviors by way of drinking game motives. Participants consisted of 686 students from eight U.S. colleges/universities (ages 18-23, mean age = 19.45; 73.8% female; 68.2% white) who completed a self-report questionnaire which asked about drinking game behaviors and motives for playing, alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations, general drinking motives, and typical alcohol use. Controlling for demographics, general drinking motives, and typical alcohol use, results indicated that liquid courage (alcohol outcome expectancies) and sociability (alcohol outcome expectancies and valuations) were indirectly associated with drinking game behaviors by way of enhancement/thrills and social lubrication motives for playing drinking games, respectively. Findings suggest that motives specific to playing drinking games operate similarly to general drinking motives as the “final common pathway ” to drinking game behaviors. Implications for motivation-matched and expectancy challenge strategies aimed at reducing drinking games participation on college campuses are discussed. © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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