From the laboratory to real-life: a pilot study of an expectancy challenge with heavy drinking young people on holiday

J. van de Luitgaarden*, R.W.H.J. Wiers, R.A. Knibbe, B.J.F. Boon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Alcohol Expectancy Challenge (EC) is a promising program for changing alcohol expectancies and reducing alcohol consumption in "heavy drinking" young men in a bar-lab setting. In this study the EC was adapted for use in mixed-gender groups in a holiday setting and its feasibility tested in camping resorts in the Netherlands where a lot of binge drinking takes place (summer 2002). Male and female participants (N = 170; mean age, 18.8 years) were randomly assigned to an EC or to an assessment-only control group. One day before the intervention, alcohol expectancies were measured by a Visual Analogue Scale of arousal-sedation expectancies (VAS expectancies questionnaire). At the same time, alcohol use in everyday life and on holiday was assessed by a General Drinking Questionnaire and a 24-hour drinking diary, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the intervention, the VAS expectancies questionnaire was administered again and alcohol use over the previous 24 hours was reported in the drinking diary. Six weeks after the intervention, participants were telephoned and administered oral versions of the VAS expectancies questionnaire and General Drinking Questionnaire. Data were analyzed using mixed ANOVAs. Although the study was hampered by recruitment difficulties, the EC proved feasible in this setting, was well received by youngsters, and effects on their alcohol expectancies may have been present. No effect was found on alcohol use. In conclusion, implementation must be improved and more studies are needed to come to more definite conclusions about the value of the EC in a real-life targeted intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-368
JournalSubstance Use & Misuse
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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