Assessing Alcohol Expectations in University Students: the APNE Scale

Montserrat Gomà-i-Freixanet, Gabriela Ferrero-Rincón, Roser Granero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The increasing prevalence of alcohol consumption at early ages has led to major efforts to identify alcohol drinking habits within this highly vulnerable group, and individuals with hazardous patterns of alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Alcohol Positive and Negative Expectations Scale (APNE; a new screening tool developed to identify expectations toward alcohol), and to examine the patterns of alcohol drinking in young adults. The sample included n = 1309 participants (college students) with age range 20 to 25 years. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) performed through Generalized Structural Equation Models (GSEM) verified the structure of the APNE, correlational models evaluated convergent-discriminant validity, and logistic regression assessed the discriminative ability to identify harmful drinking. The bifactor structure for the APNE was confirmed (positive and negative expectations toward alcohol drinking), with adequate goodness-of-fit (RMSEA = 0.052, CFI = 0.936, TLI = 0.914, and SRMR = 0.075). Multi-group modeling showed invariance by sex (p =.543) and age (p =.395) for the measurement coefficients. High correlations with external measures of alcohol use/abuse and discriminant capacity to identify harmful drinking were obtained. Compared to men, women reported higher mean scores in the negative expectations factor (p =.003). Polynomial linear trends showed that the likelihood of positive expectations toward alcohol decreased with age, while negative expectations increased. The APNE is a brief, reliable, valid, and accurate tool to assess positive and negative expectations toward alcohol consumption in college students. Tools like the APNE can support policymakers to make informed decisions about the implementation of prevention and treatment programs targeted at this segment of the population, the development of personalized alcohol programs, and the reappraisal of public campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Early online date24 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2022


  • Alcohol consumption
  • Expectations
  • Factor analysis
  • Young adults


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