Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

David G Stewart

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Amy H Mezulis

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Melissa A Lewis


The co-occurrence of alcohol use and risky sexual behavior is prevalent among underage drinkers and causes numerous psychosocial and health related consequences. There is a need for interventions to target these risk-taking behaviors. The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of a values-based intervention to decrease risky sex, problematic alcohol behaviors and related expectancies. These risk-taking behaviors were also examined in the context of an acquired preparedness model (APM). Thirty-eight youth from a high school and university setting completed both time points. Participants were randomly assigned into one of two treatment conditions: a treatment as usual group that received personalized normative feedback and the experimental condition that received an additional values card sort. Results indicated no difference between treatment groups in the reduction of alcohol use behaviors and risky sex. However, the main effect of time was significant with statistically significant reductions in alcohol use [F(1, 35) = 17.76, p < .001], unprotected sex [F(1, 35) = 18.18, p < .001], and sex related alcohol expectancies [F(1, 35) = 10.86, p = .002] in both group conditions. The overall model of serial mediation tested the indirect effects of sex related alcohol expectancies and problematic alcohol use on the relationship between dysregulation and risky sexual behaviors and was significant [R2 = 0.34, F(3, 34) = 5.82, p < .005]. These findings indicate that a values card sort intervention does not evidence greater reductions in alcohol and sexual behaviors over time compared to personalized normative feedback. Underage drinkers who received either type of direct intervention experienced decreases in risk taking behaviors and related expectancies. Additionally, in the context of the APM, individuals with trait dysregulation and positive sex-related alcohol expectancies are at greater risk for engaging in sexual risk taking. Clinical implications, study limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

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