, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 409-421

Development of a Scale to measure outcome expectancy in alcoholics

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Self-efficacy theory postulates that altering expectation of personal mastery is the major cognitive process involved in behavior change. Two classes of expectancy are discussed: (a) efficacy expectancy: the belief or confidence one has in being able to successfully perform a specific behavior, and (b) outcome expectancy: the belief one has about the consequences that will follow successful performance. Application of the theory to relapse prevention in alcoholism has addressed the role of efficacy expectancy but not outcome expectancy, the focus of this study. A 34-item scale was developed to measure outcome expectancy in alcoholics, with outcome expectancy defined as the consequences anticipated subsequent to a change in drinking behavior. The scale, consisting of both a strength and a valence component, was administered to 204 male patients admitted to two alcoholism treatment centers. Factor analysis yielded two subscales: the BENEFITS Scale (21 items), a measure of the advantages expected should a change in drinking behavior occur, and the COSTS Scale (13 items), a measure of disadvantages expected should a change in drinking behavior occur. Evidence for reliability and construct validity is presented. Future research and clinical uses of the scale are discussed.

This research was conducted by the first author in partial fulfillment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Addiction Research Foundation. The authors wish to thank Ms. Toby Levinson, Addiction Research Foundation, and Dr. Brian McLatchie, Pinewood Centre, Oshawa, for permission to include their clients in this study. Appreciation is also extended to Dr. Ed Larkin, and his staff in the Assessment Unit, Addiction Research Foundation, for help with part of the data collection.