Authors: Phyllis L. Ellickson, Rebecca L. Collins, Katrin Hambarsoomians, Daniel F. McCaffrey
Title: Does alcohol advertising promote adolescent drinking? Results from a longitudinal assessment
Journal: Addiction, 2005, 100, 235-246.
Objective: The study examines whether the exposure to alcohol marketing in grade 8 affects drinking alcohol for two groups of mid-adolescents: (1) seventh-grade non-drinkers and (2) seventh-grade drinkers. In addition, interactions between the intervention program ALERT Plus is tested.
Design: Prospective study (longitudinal study) with 3 time points and over 30 months.
Setting: 41 schools in South Dakota, US.
Participants: (1) seventh-grade non-drinkers (n=1206) and (2) seventh-grade drinkers (n=1905).
Methods: It is examined whether the level of exposure to television beer advertisements, alcohol ads in magazines, in-store beer displays, beer concessions, in grade 7 and 8 affect drinking behaviour in grade 9. Separate statistical analyses are performed for seventh grade non-drinkers and seventh grade drinkers. Regression analyses are performed to calculate odds ratios adjusted for covariates (television viewing, social influences, social bonds, attitudes and behaviour and demographics).
Findings: 48% of 1206 grade 7 non-drinkers consumed alcohol in previous year at grade 9. Controlled for main confounders, exposure to beer concession stands at sports or music events predicted drinking onset for non-drinkers in previous 12 months (OR=1.42, p<0.05), whereas exposure to TV beer adverts (OR=1.05, p>0.05), magazines with alcohol advertisements (OR=1.12, p>0.05), and exposure to in store advertisements (OR=1.06, p>0.05) did not. Weekly television viewing, controlled for alcohol advertisement exposure, had a negative effect on the chance of past year drinking at grade 9. This is explained by a ‘ babysitter’ effect of watching television. 77% of 1905 grade 7 drinkers consumed alcohol in previous year at grade 9. Exposure to beer concession stands at sports or music events predicted frequency of drinking amongst existing drinkers in previous 12 months (OR=0.09, p<0.05), as did exposure to magazines with alcohol advertisements (OR=0.10, p<0.05), whereas exposure to TV beer adverts (OR=-0.01, p>0.05), and exposure to in store advertisements (OR=0.02, p>0.05) did not.
Conclusions Authors: “Adolescents who have tried drinking by age 12 or 13, and thus have already exhibited a tendency to emulate adult behaviour, may be more likely to pay attention
to alcohol advertisements in sports, music, adult and news magazines. The same logic applies to concession stand advertising at music concerts and sports events. In contrast, youth who have not started drinking by grade seven appear more likely to be influenced by alcohol advertising in venues such as supermarkets and ‘Mom and Pop’ stores, places that are encountered during the course of everyday life.” (Ellickson et al. 2005, 244)
Remarks of EUCAM:
This seems a thoroughly conducted study which is focused on more types of alcohol marketing than only televised alcohol advertisement. The study finds no effects of exposure to televised alcohol ads. This in contrast with findings of Collins et al (2007) and Stacy et al (2004) although these studies have similarities in their design. Small differences in the specific questionnaires could explain these varying results. Alternatively, the older sample of Ellickson could explain the differences in results. It is important to test in further research what could explain these differences in findings. (see also summary of Collins et al (2007) and Stacy et al (2004).