The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 209–219 | Cite as

Outcome Expectancies, Descriptive Norms, and Alcohol Use: American Indian and White Adolescents

  • Sara E. DieterichEmail author
  • Linda R. Stanley
  • Randall C. Swaim
  • Fred Beauvais
Original Paper


This study examined the relationships between adolescent alcohol use and outcome expectancies and descriptive norms for a sample of American Indian and white youth living on or near reservations. Three outcome expectancies proposed by the theory of normative social behavior (perceived benefits to self, perceived benefits to others, and anticipatory socialization) were examined. Survey data were collected from high school students in the 2009–2010, 2010–2011, and 2011–2012 school years. Stronger descriptive norms for use and higher perceived benefits to self from use were associated with alcohol use in the last month, drunkenness in the last month, and binge drinking. Perceived benefits to self also moderated the relationship between descriptive norms and both alcohol use in the last month and binge drinking, and the effect of descriptive norms on use became more robust as perceived benefits to self increased. Outcome expectancies of perceived benefits to others and anticipatory socialization did not moderate the relationship between norms and alcohol use. Implications for prevention are discussed.


Descriptive norms Outcome expectancies Alcohol Adolescents 



This research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5R01DA03371-23, PI, Fred Beauvais.


  1. Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhi & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Action-control: From cognition to behavior (pp. 11–39). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (1987). Attitudes, traits, and actions: Dispositional prediction of behavior in personality and social psychology. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 20, pp. 1–63). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arah, O. (2008). The role of causal reasoning in understanding Simpson’s paradox, Lord’s paradox, and the suppression effect: Covariate selection in the analysis of observational studies. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology, 5(1), 5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Oxford, England: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Beauvais, F. (1992). Comparison of drug use rates for reservation Indian, non-reservation Indian and Anglo youth. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 5, 13–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck, K. H., & Treiman, K. A. (1996). The relationship of social context of drinking, perceived social norms, and parental influence to various drinking patterns of adolescents. Addictive Behaviors, 21(5), 633–644.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borsari, B., & Carey, K. B. (2003). Descriptive and injunctive norms in college drinking: A meta-analytic integration. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drug, 64(3), 331–341.Google Scholar
  9. Boys, A., Marsden, J., Griffiths, P., Fountain, J., Stillwell, G., & Strang, J. (1999). Substance use among young people: The relationship between perceived functions and intentions. Addiction, 94, 1043–1050.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bryk, A. S., Raudenbush, S. W., & Congdon, R. (2004). HLM 6 for Windows [Computer software] (Version 6.02). Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  11. Callas, P. W., Flynn, B. S., & Worden, J. K. (2004). Potentially modifiable psychosocial factors associated with alcohol use during early adolescence. Addictive Behaviors, 29(8), 1503–1515.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cialdini, R. B., Reno, R. R., & Kallgren, C. A. (1990). A focus theory of normative conduct: Recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1015–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clapp, J. D., Lange, J. E., Russel, C., Shillington, A., & Voas, R. B. (2003). A failed norms social marketing campaign. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(3), 409–414.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Conner, M., & Armitage, C. J. (1998). The theory of planned behavior: A review and avenues for further research. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28, 1430–1464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. D’Amico, E., & McCarthy, D. (2006). Escalation and initiation of younger adolescents’ substance use: The impact of perceived peer use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 481–487.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DeJong, W., Schneider, S., Towvim, L., Murphy, M. J., Doerr, E. E., Simonsen, N. R., et al. (2006). A multisite randomized trial of social norms marketing campaigns to reduce college student drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(6), 868–879.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Elek, E., Miller-Day, M., & Hecht, M. L. (2006). Influences of personal, injunctive, and descriptive norms on early adolescent substance use. Journal of Drug Issues, 36(1), 147–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkins, E. H., Cummins, L. H., & Marlatt, G. (2004). Preventing substance abuse in American Indian and Alaska native youth: Promising strategies for healthier communities. In G. Marlatt & K. Witkiewitz (Eds.), Addictive behaviors: New readings on etiology, prevention, and treatment (pp. 575–621). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  19. Hawkins, J. D., Kosterman, R., Maguin, E., Catalano, R. F., & Arthur, M. W. (1997). Substance use and abuse. In R. T. Ammerman & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of prevention and treatment with children and adolescents: Intervention in the real world context (pp. 203–237). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  20. Jones, B. T., Corbin, W., & Fromme, K. (2001). A review of expectancy theory and alcohol consumption. Addiction, 96(1), 57–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1984). Choices, values, and frames. American Psychologist, 39(4), 341–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Larimer, M. E., Turner, A. P., Mallett, K. A., & Geisner, I. M. (2004). Predicting drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems among fraternity and sorority members: Examining the role of descriptive and injunctive norms. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 18(3), 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee, C. M., Geisner, I., Lewis, M. A., Neighbors, C., & Larimer, M. E. (2007). Social motives and the interaction between descriptive and injunctive norms in college student drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68(5), 714–721.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. MacKinnon, D. P., Krull, J. L., & Lockwood, C. M. (2000). Equivalence of the mediation, confounding and suppression effect. Prevention Science, 1(4), 173–181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mitchell, C. M., & Beals, J. (2006). The development of alcohol use and outcome expectancies among American Indian young adults: A growth mixture model. Additive Behaviors, 31, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Muthén, B. O., & Muthén, L. (2008). Mplus User’s Guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  27. Neighbors, C., Geisner, I. M., & Lee, C. M. (2008). Perceived marijuana norms and social expectancies among entering college student marijuana users. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 22(3), 433–438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Oetting, E., & Beauvais, F. (1990). Adolescent drug use: Findings of national and local surveys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 385–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Office of Applied Studies. (2006). Results from the 2005 national survey on drug use and health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. 06–4194, NSDUH Series H-30). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  30. Peele, S., & Brodsky, A. (2000). Exploring psychological benefits associated with moderate alcohol use: A necessary corrective to assessments of drinking outcomes? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 60(3), 221–247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Plunkett, M., & Mitchell, C. M. (2000). Substance use rates among American Indian adolescents: Regional comparisons with monitoring the future high school seniors. Journal of Drug Issues, 30, 575–591.Google Scholar
  32. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  33. Rimal, R. N. (2008). Modeling the relationship between descriptive norms and behaviors: A test and extension of the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB). Health Communication, 23, 103–116.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rimal, R. N., Lapinski, M. K., Cook, R. J., & Real, K. (2005). Moving toward a theory of normative influences: How perceived benefits and similarity moderate the impact of descriptive norms on behaviors. Journal of Health Communication, 10(5), 433–450.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rimal, R. N., & Real, K. (2005). How behaviors are influenced by perceived norms: A test of the theory of normative social behavior. Communication Research, 32(3), 389–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Royston, P. (2004). Multiple imputation of missing values. Stata Journal, 4(3), 227–241.Google Scholar
  37. Royston, P. (2005). Multiple imputation of missing values: Update of ice. Stata Journal, 5(4), 527–536.Google Scholar
  38. Royston, P. (2007). Multiple imputation of missing values: Further update of ice, with an emphasis on interval censoring. Stata Journal, 7(4), 445–464.Google Scholar
  39. Rubin, D. B. (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shafer, J., & Graham, L. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7, 147–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sheeran, P. (2002). Intention–behavior relations: A conceptual and empirical review. In M. Hewstone & W. Stroebe (Eds.), European review of social psychology (Vol. 12, pp. 1–36). Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  42. Smith, G., Goldman, M., Greenbaum, P., & Christiansen, B. (1995). Expectancy for social facilitation from drinking: The divergent paths of high-expectancy and low-expectancy adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 32–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Spicer, P., Novins, D. K., Mitchell, C. M., & Beals, J. (2003). Aboriginal social organization, contemporary experience, and American Indian adolescent alcohol use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64, 450–457.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Tu, Y. K., Gunnell, D., & Gilthorpe, M. (2008). Simpson’s Paradox, Lord’s Paradox, and Suppression Effects are the same phenomenon—the reversal paradox. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology, 5(1), 2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Turner, J., Perkins, W., & Bauerle, J. (2008). Declining negative consequences related to alcohol misuse among students exposed to a social norms marketing intervention on a college campus. Journal of American College Health, 57(1), 85–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wallace, J. M., Bachman, J. G., O’Malley, P. M., Johnston, J. D., Schulenberg, J. E., & Cooper, S. M. (2002). Tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use: Racial and ethnic differences among U.S. high school seniors, 1976–2000. Public Health Reports, 117(Suppl. 1), 67–75.Google Scholar
  47. Wallace, J. M, Jr, Bachman, J. G., O’Malley, P. M., Schulenberg, J. E., Cooper, S. M., & Johnston, L. D. (2003). Gender and ethnic differences in smoking, drinking and illicit drug use among American 8th, 10th and 12th grade students, 1976–2000. Addiction, 98(2), 225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wechsler, H., Nelson, T. F., Lee, J., Seibring, M., Lewis, C., & Keeling, R. P. (2003). Perception and reality: A national evaluation of social norms marketing interventions to reduce college students’ heavy alcohol use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(4), 484–494.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Zamboanga, B. L., Horton, N. J., Leitkowski, L. K., & Wang, S. C. (2006). Do good things come to those who drink? A longitudinal investigation of drinking expectancies and hazardous alcohol use in female college athletes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 229–236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara E. Dieterich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linda R. Stanley
    • 1
  • Randall C. Swaim
    • 1
  • Fred Beauvais
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations