• Adolescent;
  • alcohol;
  • China;
  • cultural orientation;
  • expectancy;
  • self-efficacy


Objective  We hypothesized that the drinking behavior of adolescents in China is influenced by expectancies and self-efficacy and that adolescents' cultural orientation towards western versus traditional Chinese values influences expectancies, self-efficacy and drinking behavior, with western values leading to more dysfunctional patterns of beliefs and drinking, and that these beliefs are influenced by students' gender and school environment.

Methods  A total of 1020 high school students from Beijing completed the Chinese Adolescent Alcohol Expectancy, the Chinese Cultural Orientation and the Chinese Self-regulation Self-efficacy questionnaires.

Results  Results generally confirmed our hypotheses. Higher negative expectancies and higher self-efficacy reduced the likelihood of drinking significantly. Higher positive expectancies increased the likelihood of regular drinking but not occasional drinking. Having western cultural orientation increased the likelihood of drinking. Higher levels of western cultural orientation also increased positive expectancies, lowered negative expectancies and lowered self-efficacy. Having more western (less traditional) views towards traditional Chinese values decreased positive and negative expectancies. Gender influenced beliefs, with males having higher positive and lower negative expectancies, lower self-efficacy and more traditional cultural orientation. Students in key and general schools had less traditional cultural orientation and key school students had higher self-efficacy.

Conclusions  Results indicate that cultural orientation influences adolescent drinking and this influence is mediated partially through cultural orientation influences on adolescent drinking expectancies and self-efficacy. Having more western and less traditional Chinese cultural orientation leads to more drinking, lower self-efficacy for regulating drinking and more risk-promoting alcohol expectancies.