Alcohol Expectancies in a Native American Population

Authors

  • Consuelo Garcia-Andrade,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
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  • Tamara L. Wall,

    1. Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    2. Department of Psychiatiy, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
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  • Cindy L. Ehlers

    1. Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    2. Department of Psychiatiy, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
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  • This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grants AA00098, AA00155, AA06420, AA10201, and by General Clinical Research Center Grant RR00833. This study was presented, in part, at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, June 1995, Steamboat Springs, CO.

Reprint requests: Consuelo Garcia-Andrade, M.D., The Scripps Research Institute, CW-14, 10666 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Abstract

Native Americans, as a group, have a high prevalence of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, although specific risk factors for alcoholism among this population have yet to be clearly identified. One set of factors that may contribute to the development of alcoholism are expectations of alcohol's effects. Previous research has shown that heavy drinkers and alcoholics have higher alcohol-related expectancies. Some studies have also shown an association between alcohol expectancies and a positive familial history of alcoholism. To examine factors that are related to expectations of alcohol's effects in a Native American population, this study evaluated healthy, nonalcoholic Mission Indian men between the ages of 18 and 25 years using the short form of the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire (AEQ). The influence of recent drinking history, family history of alcoholism, and degree of Native American heritage on alcohol-related expectancies was determined using regression analyses for the total AEQ score and for each of the six AEQ subscales. Recent drinking history accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in the total score, as well as scale I (global positive changes) and scale VI (arousal and power) of the AEQ. Degree of Native American heritage and family history of alcoholism did not account for a significant amount of variability in alcohol expectancies. These results suggest that, consistent with findings in other populations, alcohol expectancies are related to drinking patterns in Mission Indians. However, no association with two other potential risk factors were found in this sample of Native Americans.

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