College students experience numerous positive and negative consequences from drinking alcohol, although the extent to which these consequences influence perceptions of their drinking experiences is poorly understood. A better understanding of the impact of experiencing specific consequences, and how they are evaluated, on college students' perceptions of the overall drinking experience and subsequent alcohol use is crucial for advancing intervention efforts. The current study used daily data to examine (a) whether experiencing specific consequences and (b) whether ratings of the most favorable and most aversive consequences predicted overall evaluations of the drinking experience and perceptions that drinking was worth it; and (c) whether overall evaluations and perceptions that drinking was worth it predicted next-day drinking. College student drinkers (N = 349, 53.3% female) completed daily reports on drinking, consequences, evaluations of consequences, and evaluations of the drinking experience during four 2-week periods across 1 year. Findings from generalized estimating equations demonstrated that experiencing any of the positive consequences predicted more favorable overall evaluations and perceptions that drinking was worth it, whereas the majority of the negative consequences predicted less favorable overall evaluations. Ratings of the most favorable positive consequence and the most aversive negative consequence were also associated with overall evaluations. Perceiving that drinking was more worth it was associated with an increased likelihood of next-day drinking. Current findings reinforce the need to address the experience of both positive and negative consequences in interventions, while simultaneously considering the extent to which students perceived the negative consequences as aversive.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data collection and manuscript preparation were supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grant R01 AA016979 to Christine M. Lee. Manuscript preparation was also supported by Grants T32 AA007455 to Mary Larimer and R01 AA023504 to Megan E. Patrick. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or the National Institutes of Health.
© 2016 American Psychological Association.
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