The effects of alcohol and expectancies on risk perception and behavioral skills relevant to safer sex among heterosexual young adult women

Stephen A. Maisto, Michael P. Carey, Kate B. Carey, Christopher M. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


Objective: This study was undertaken to test the hypotheses that acute alcohol intoxication and alcohol-rated sex expectancies are negatively related to both risk perception (a motivational factor) and ability to negotiate safer sex (a behavioral skills factor) with a partner. Motivation and behavioral skills are determinants of safer sex according to the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) model. Method: A total of 102 heterosexual females ages 21-30 years participated in two sessions. The first session involved the administration of various measures to confirm eligibility status, and random assignment to one of three beverage conditions: "water control," "alcohol" (0.65 g alcohol/kg body weight) or "placebo." The second session involved administration of the beverage and then completion of a risk perception measure and an audiovisual role-play measure of behavioral skills. Results: Regression analyses showed that alcohol expectancies and the perception of intoxication contributed independent variance to both risk perception and behavioral skills. Actual alcohol intoxication had little influence on these dependent variables. Conclusions: Alcohol expectancies and related factors can be related to variables that theoretically precede the occurrence of risky sex. Research is needed on the processes through which expectancies might be related to the occurrence of safer sex, as well as on person and situation variables that moderate the effects of alcohol and alcohol expectancies on safer sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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