Advancing the expectancy concept via the interplay between theory and research

Frances K. Del Boca, Jack Darkes, Mark S. Goldman, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Four papers from a 2001 Research Society on Alcoholism symposium on expectancy theory and research are summarized. The symposium contributors describe recent advances in expectancy theory and discuss their implications for assessment and for understanding the processes of development and change in the behavioral domain of alcohol use. First, findings are integrated across the diverse domains in which the expectancy concept has been applied. Second, the implications of expectancy theory for the measurement of expectancy structure and process are examined. Third, research and theory regarding alcohol expectancy development and change are presented, with an emphasis on the role of expectancies as mediators of known antecedents of drinking. Finally, an experimental procedure for investigating the causal role of expectancies is described, together with its implications for theory testing and prevention or intervention programming. Collectively, the symposium contributions demonstrate the utility of an integrated expectancy theory for the generation of innovative research operations and new insights regarding behavior development and change. Consistent with the notion of consilience, expectancy theory has demonstrated a convergence of findings across different levels of analysis, as well as across different operations, methods, and research designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-935
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Acquired Preparedness
  • Alcohol Use
  • Behavior Change
  • Expectancy Measurement
  • Expectancy Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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