JOURNAL ARTICLE

The role of aggression-related alcohol expectancies in explaining the link between alcohol and violent behavior

Lening Zhang, John W Welte, William W Wieczorek
Substance Use & Misuse 2002, 37 (4): 457-71
12064429
Studies have demonstrated an acute effect of alcohol on violent behavior. A remaining issue is the motivation of some offenders for using alcohol before offending. A common explanation is based on the relationship between daily drinking habit and drinking before offending. Drawing upon the deviance disavowal assumption, the embolden hypothesis, and expectancy theories, the present study argues that alcohol may be used intentionally to promote or excuse the violent consequences of drinking. Using data from the 1993 Buffalo Longitudinal Study of Young Men, the present study examines the independent effect of aggression-related alcohol expectancies on drinking before offending and the interactive effect of aggression-related alcohol expectancies and daily alcohol consumption on drinking before offending. The results indicate a significant effect of aggression-related alcohol expectancies on alcohol use before offending. This supports the argument that drinking may be a means for carrying out violent acts. A significant interactive effect was found between aggression-related alcohol expectancies and daily alcohol consumption. "Heavy" daily alcohol consumption increased the likelihood of drinking before offending for individuals who had high aggression-related alcohol expectancies more than those who had low such expectancies. Aggression-related alcohol expectancies moderated the effect of daily drinking on drinking before offending. The implications of these findings are discussed for the link between alcohol and violence.

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