Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Maureen Carrigan

Second Advisor

Keri Weed

Third Advisor

Edward Callen


Bandura (1969, 1985) proposed social learning theory (SLT) as a theoretical framework through which behaviors can be predicted. SLT offers an explanation to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are learned. Alcohol outcome expectancies (AOEs) are defined as the physiological or psychological consequences that are anticipated following the consumption of alcohol (Goldman, Boca, & Darkes, 1999). Expectancies enhance or diminish a person’s willingness to engage in drinking behaviors. SLT and AOEs converge as children watch adults and the media either consume and glorify alcohol or conversely vilify alcohol and shun its consumption. This study investigated whether individual difference variables (i.e., suggestibility, prior held alcohol expectancies, neuroticism, openness to experience, and sensation seeking) impact the strength of social learning, manifested by learned beliefs of effect of a novel and neutral substance, state mood change, and future behavioral prediction. Results indicated peer modeling combined with expert instruction was more powerful in shaping participant’s beliefs of beverage effect versus expert instruction alone. Participants with higher scores of physiological suggestibility and consumer suggestibility reported higher positive beliefs about the novel beverage than those lower in these variables. Understanding that one is susceptible to believing positive claims of substances may help protect against making potentially unhealthy decisions.