Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Effects of Outcome Expectancies and Personality on Young Adults' Illicit Drug Use, Heavy Drinking, and Risky Sexual Behavior

  • Elizabeth C. Katz
  • Kim Fromme
  • Elizabeth J. D'Amico


To explain risk-taking behavior, personality theorists typically focus on biologically based predispositions, whereas cognitive psychologists often focus on beliefs and environmental contingencies. The current longitudinal study examined both personality traits and outcome expectancies as explanations for heavy drinking, drug use, and unsafe sexual behavior among 162 college students. Results indicated that (1) personality and past experience contribute to outcome expectancies, (2) outcome expectancies and personality independently predict substance use at 6-month follow-up, and (3) only past experience predicts subsequent risky sexual behavior. The approach taken in this research offers a bridge between personality theorists and cognitive psychologists who seek to understand why people endanger their lives in pursuit of risky activities.

outcome expectancies personality risk taking substance use unsafe sex 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth C. Katz
    • 1
  • Kim Fromme
    • 1
  • Elizabeth J. D'Amico
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustin

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