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Home > The association between scholastic measures, alcohol outcome expectancies and alcohol use: a cross-sectional study in Northern Ireland.

McKay, Michael T and Harvey, Seamus A (2015) The association between scholastic measures, alcohol outcome expectancies and alcohol use: a cross-sectional study in Northern Ireland. Child Care in Practice, 21, (4), pp. 357-373.


Alcohol use among adolescents is associated with both short-term (truancy, illness, trouble with police) and long-term (dependence, unemployment) negative consequences. Moreover, because of its developmental nature, adolescent drinking behaviour is difficult to accurately assess. Individual-level scholastic variables and alcohol outcome expectancies have been found to be associated with drinking behaviours. This study used a cross-sectional design to investigate: the relationship between alcohol use and individual-level scholastic variables, namely academic motivation and academic self-efficacy; and the relationship between alcohol use and alcohol outcome expectancies, while controlling for a wide range of other variables. Participants were post-primary (high) school pupils in the greater Belfast area of Northern Ireland. They completed a range of questionnaires including measures assessing academic self-efficacy, academic motivation, alcohol outcome expectancies, and a composite measure of alcohol use. Results showed that, controlling for the hierarchical nature of the data, socio-demographic variables and other possible confounders, lower reported scores on the individual-level scholastic measures, higher reported scores on positive alcohol outcome expectancies, and lower reported scores on negative alcohol outcome expectancies remained significantly associated with more problematic drinking. Results are discussed in the context of contemporaneous school-related research.

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