Initial development of a measure of expectancies for combinations of alcohol and caffeine: The Caffeine + Alcohol Combined Effects Questionnaire (CACEQ).
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Caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) consumption is widespread among young adults in the United States and is associated with increased negative consequences from alcohol. In addition to the direct pharmacological effects of adding caffeine to alcohol, another possible risk mechanism is via socially learned expectancies, which has received very little consideration. The current study conducted an initial psychometric validation of a measure of CAB expectancies to facilitate research in this area. Participants were 409 undergraduate regular drinkers (71% female) who were assessed for alcohol and CAB use, alcohol use/misuse, and expectancies about CABs. The majority (62%) of participants reported CAB experience and 48% reported CAB use in the past month. Participants primarily consumed spontaneously-prepared as opposed to premixed-CABs. More frequent CAB use was significantly positively correlated with levels of alcohol use and misuse. For the expectancy items, exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors that were labeled "Intoxication Enhancement" and "Avoid Negative Consequences." The patterns of expectancies reflected beliefs that CABs enhanced intoxication, but did not protect against negative consequences. The measure was titled the Caffeine + Alcohol Combined Effects Questionnaire (CACEQ). Intoxication enhancement scores were significantly associated with frequency of CAB use, even after adjusting for the role of weekly drinking and alcohol misuse, supporting the convergent validity of the CACEQ. These data provide initial support for the CACEQ and suggest it may be useful for clarifying the role of expectancies in CAB use. Applications for studying the risks associated with CAB use and methodological considerations are discussed.
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