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Tailgating Protective Behavioral Strategies Mediate the Effects of Positive Alcohol Outcome Expectancies on Game Day Drinking

Previous research has suggested that use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) are associated with lower alcohol use among college students, and a recent study observed use of such strategies during high risk events for hazardous drinking: game day tailgates.

In this study, over 200 undergraduate students who had attended a university football game tailgate completed online surveys 48 hours before the game at which they planned to tailgate. They also completed a follow up survey 72 hours after the game. These surveys included transportation plans, amount of alcohol consumed, use of protective behavioral strategies, and alcohol related outcomes.

The results indicated that higher positive game day expectancies were associated with higher amounts of game day drinking. Use of limiting amount of drinks consumed as a PBS was associated with consuming fewer drinks but did not impact the association between lower amounts of drinking and lower expectations. Use of safe transportation methods was associated with less likelihood of abstaining from alcohol use and often leads to consumption of more drinks. Overall, positive expectancies of drinking were associated with consuming more drinks on a game day and lower likelihood of abstaining from alcohol use. Further research can investigate more PBS and expectations towards high risk drinking events.

Take Away: Students who expect to have a positive experience due to drinking alcohol are more likely to consume more drinks and less likely to abstain from drinking in a football tailgate setting. Use of protective behavioral strategies such as arranging for safe transportation may also lead to more consumption, while setting a limit on drinking leads to less consumption.

Anthenien, A.M., Fredrickson, G., Riggs, N.R., Conner, B.T., Jurica, J, et al. (2019). Tailgating Protective Behavioral Strategies Mediate the Effects of Positive Alcohol Outcome Expectancies on Game Day Drinking. The Journal of Primary Prevention. doi.org/10.1007/s10935-019-00548-1

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