Relations among Externalizing Behaviors, Alcohol Expectancies and Alcohol Use Problems in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Middle and High School Students

Timothy Regan, Jonathan G. Tubman, Seth J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Alcohol expectancies and externalizing behaviors, that is, aggression and rule-breaking behaviors, are associated with underage alcohol use. The interactive influence of these risk factors on problem alcohol use among minority adolescents is investigated in the present study. Objectives: This study examined the unique and interactive influences of alcohol expectancies and externalizing problems on specific measures of adolescents’ (a) past three-month binge drinking episodes and (b) negative consequences of alcohol use. Methods: Cross-sectional self-report data were collected in 2014 via tablet-based computerized assessments from a predominantly minority sample of 762 (404 females, Mage = 13.73 years, SDage =1.59) 6th, 8th, and 10th grade students recruited from public middle and high schools in Miami-Dade County, FL and Prince George’s County, MD. Students completed surveys on tablets in school settings regarding alcohol expectancies, expectancy valuations, externalizing problem behaviors, past 3-month binge drinking episodes, and experiences of alcohol-related negative consequences. Results: Zero-inflated negative binomial regressions indicated: (1) older adolescents were more likely to report binge drinking; and (2) a significant main effect for externalizing problem behaviors on binge use. Logistic regressions indicated (1) older adolescents were more likely to endorse an alcohol-related negative consequence and (2) the interaction between positive alcohol expectancies and externalizing behaviors was associated with endorsing an alcohol-related negative consequence. Conclusions: Engaging adolescents who exhibit serious externalizing behaviors and report positive alcohol expectancies via developmentally appropriate, tailored interventions is one feasible strategy to address escalation of binge alcohol use and related negative consequences among minority youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSubstance Abuse: Research and Treatment
StatePublished - 2020


  • adolescent health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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