Differential Evaluations of Alcohol-Related Consequences among Emerging Adults

Helene R. White, Anne E. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Personalized feedback interventions (PFIs) to reduce drinking in college students often provide feedback about negative alcohol-related consequences experienced by students to motivate them to drink less. Yet, there is evidence which suggests that not everyone perceives consequences as negative and raises questions regarding the utility of consequence-specific feedback for some individuals. The purpose of the current study was to extend this research to examine salience of consequences among both college and non-college emerging adults, differences in ratings by sex, age, and frequency of experiencing consequences, and the relationship between salience measured in emerging adulthood and drinking patterns in young adulthood. Data were from an accelerated cohort study of males and females (N = 1,308), who were either age 18, 21, or 24 years at the time of consequence evaluation and followed-up 7 years later. Most experienced consequences were rated as at least a little bothersome. Regression analyses indicated that females, older participants, and those who experienced a consequence more often evaluated consequences as more bothersome but there were no differences by college status. Mean ratings of bother did not predict quitting drinking or alcohol problems 7 years later, whereas the number of consequences experienced did. Overall, the results suggest that most consequences are rated similarly by emerging adults regardless of college attendance but that feedback on consequences may be more salient for females and older emerging adults. PFIs may need to differ in the types of feedback they provide depending on demographic characteristics and baseline level of alcohol problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012, Society for Prevention Research.


  • Alcohol
  • Consequences
  • Emerging adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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