Spring Break versus Spring Broken: Predictive utility of Spring Break alcohol intentions and willingness at varying levels of extremity


Objective: Within the domain of risk-related behavior, many times the decision to engage is not a product of premeditation or intention. The Prototype Willingness model was created to capture and explain the unintended element of risk behavior. The present study aimed to evaluate the importance of willingness versus intention, two important constructs within the Prototype Willingness model, in relation to Spring Break drinking behavior when assessed at both high and low extremities. Method: College undergraduates (N = 275) completed questionnaires prior to Spring Break regarding their anticipated Spring Break activities. Willingness and intention were assessed for different levels of risk. Specifically, participants indicated the extent to which they intended to (a) get drunk and (b) drink enough to black out or pass out; and the extent to which they were willing to (a) get drunk and (b) drink enough to black out or pass out. When classes resumed following Spring Break, the students indicated the extent to which they actually (a) got drunk and (b) drank enough to black out or pass out. Results: Results demonstrated that when the health-related risk was lower (i.e., getting drunk), intention was a stronger predictor of behavior than was willingness. However, as the level of risk increased (i.e., getting drunk enough to black out or pass out), willingness more strongly predicted behavior. Conclusion: The present study suggests that willingness and intentions differentially predict Spring Break alcohol-related behavior depending on the extremity of behavior in question. Implications regarding alcohol interventions are discussed.



Spring break, Alcohol use, Prevention, Intentions, Willingness


Copyright 2014 Prevention Science. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11121-012-0355-5. Recommended citation: Litt, Dana M., Melissa A. Lewis, Megan E. Patrick, Lindsey Rodriguez, Clayton Neighbors, and Debra L. Kaysen. "Spring Break Versus Spring Broken: Predictive Utility of Spring Break Alcohol Intentions and Willingness At Varying Levels of Extremity." Prevention Science 15, no. 1 (2014): 85-93. doi: 10.1007/s11121-012-0355-5. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.