Authors: Lisa Henriksen, Ellen C. Feighery, Nina C. Schleicher and Stephen P. Fortmann
Title: Receptivity to Alcohol Marketing Predicts Initiation of Alcohol Use
Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health 42 (2008) 28-35.
Objective: To examine the impact of receptivity to alcohol marketing and recall/recognition of alcohol brand names on initiation of alcohol use.
Design: longitudinal study
Setting: three middle schools and two high schools in Tracy, California, US.
Participants: 1080 of the 2728 eligible students filled in the questionnaires at both the baseline as well as the 12-month follow-up. Students were between 10 and 15 years of age. Students loss to follow up were more likely that others to be young a boy, and to report lower grades. Additionally, this group was more receptive to alcohol marketing. Consequently, findings in the study may be underestimated. It is expected that the students lost to follow-up were at a higher risk to start drinking alcohol than students in the sample.
Methods: Logistic regression analyses are preformed to examine possible effects of alcohol marketing receptivity, brand recall, and brand recognition. Respondents who had ever owned a promotional item or wanted to have one were recoded as highly receptive to alcohol marketing; respondents who only had a favourite brand were recoded as moderate receptive; respondents who neither owned/wanted a promotional item nor had a favourite brand were recoded as minimal receptive. Confounders in the model were: grade level, gender, ethnicity, social influences to drink and psychological risk factors.
Findings: Never drinkers who reported high receptivity to alcohol marketing at baseline were 77% more likely to initiate drinking by follow-up than those who were not receptive. Smaller increases in the odds of alcohol use at follow-up were associated with better recall (OR= 1.15) and recognition of alcohol brand names (OR=1.16) at baseline. The likelihood to initiate drinking in respondents who reported moderate receptivity to alcohol marketing at baseline did not differ from those who were not receptive. All three advertising measures predicted current drinking as well. When receptivity to alcohol marketing was controlled, recall and recognition did not predict current alcohol use anymore.
Conclusions Authors: Alcohol advertising and the use promotional items are associated with starting to drink. Prevention programs and media literacy training may reduce adolescents’ receptivity to alcohol marketing by limiting their exposure to alcohol ads and promotions and by increasing their scepticism about the sponsors’ marketing tactics.
Remarks of EUCAM:
Although results may be underestimated due to the low response rate, this study provides further credibility to the argument that exposure to alcohol advertisements affects drinking behaviour in youngsters and addresses the importance of possession of promotional items (after McClure, 2006; Collins et al, 2007). As the authors already mention, the study provides no insights in the mechanisms on how alcohol marketing exposure influences alcohol use. Furthermore, the study does only examine whether alcohol marketing exposure affects the initiation of drinking and does not examine the drinking frequency or quantity.