Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems

School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 01/2013; 131(2). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-1480
Source: PubMed


This study used prospective data to test the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in underage drinking and that an increase in underage drinking then leads to problems associated with drinking alcohol.

A total of 3890 students were surveyed once per year across 4 years from the 7th through the 10th grades. Assessments included several measures of exposure to alcohol advertising, alcohol use, problems related to alcohol use, and a range of covariates, such as age, drinking by peers, drinking by close adults, playing sports, general TV watching, acculturation, parents' jobs, and parents' education.

Structural equation modeling of alcohol consumption showed that exposure to alcohol ads and/or liking of those ads in seventh grade were predictive of the latent growth factors for alcohol use (past 30 days and past 6 months) after controlling for covariates. In addition, there was a significant total effect for boys and a significant mediated effect for girls of exposure to alcohol ads and liking of those ads in 7th grade through latent growth factors for alcohol use on alcohol-related problems in 10th grade.

Younger adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages contained in alcohol commercials broadcast on TV, which sometimes results in a positive affective reaction to the ads. Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.

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    • "Substantial research has examined the association of youth exposure to alcohol marketing and drinking behaviour (Anderson et al., 2009; Ellickson et al., 2005; Grenard, Dent, & Stacy, 2013; McClure, Stoolmiller, Tanski, Worth, & Sargent, 2009; Smith & Foxcroft, 2009; Snyder, Milici, Slater, Sun, & Strizhakova, 2006). Using data from our survey, our research team analysed this relationship at the brand level. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Alcohol research focused on underage drinkers has not comprehensively assessed the landscape of brand-level drinking behaviours among youth. This information is needed to profile youth alcohol use accurately, explore its antecedents and develop appropriate interventions. Methods: We collected national data on the alcohol brand-level consumption of underage drinkers in the United States and then examined the association between those preferences and several factors including youth exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising, corporate sponsorships, popular music lyrics, and social networking sites and alcohol pricing. This paper summarises our findings, plus the results of other published studies on alcohol branding and youth drinking. Results: Our findings revealed several interesting facts regarding youth drinking. For example, we found that: (1) youth are not drinking the cheapest alcohol brands; (2) youth brand preferences differ from those of adult drinkers; (3) underage drinkers are not opportunistic in their alcohol consumption, but instead consume a very specific set of brands; (4) the brands that youth are heavily exposed to in magazines and television advertising correspond to the brands they most often report consuming and (5) youth consume more of the alcohol brands to whose advertising they are most heavily exposed. Conclusion: The findings presented here suggests that brand-level alcohol research will provide important insight into youth drinking behaviours, the factors that contribute to youth alcohol consumption and potential avenues for effective public health surveillance and programming.
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