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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Objective: Energy drinks are a popular mixer with alcohol among college-aged young adults. Few studies to date have examined the relationships between expectancies of alcohol mixed with energy drink (AmED) use, AmED use and AmED-related negative consequences.

Methods: Eighty college-aged young adults were surveyed regarding their alcohol and AmED use, related negative consequences and AmED expectancies. Associations were assessed using chi-square tests and Cramér's V. A simple mediational model also was used to explore the potential relationships between AmED expectancies, AmED use and AmED-related negative consequences.

Results: AmED use was associated with more types of related negative consequences than heavy alcohol use alone, and where AmED use and heavy alcohol use were mutually associated with a related negative consequence, the strength of association was stronger for AmED use. While several AmED-related negative consequences were associated with AmED expectancies, unwanted sexual contact and getting into a verbal argument were associated with the greatest number of expectancies. The mediational model identified a statistically significant indirect effect of AmED expectancies on AmED-related negative consequences mediated by AmED use.

Conclusions: The study results contribute to the evidence that AmED use may confer additional risk for related negative consequences beyond heavy alcohol use and suggest that AmED expectancies may have a role in AmED use, which, in turn, is associated with AmED-related negative consequences. AmED expectancies may be targets for intervention to reduce AmED use considering the possible subsequent related negative consequences, especially those involving negative interpersonal experiences.