Author: Auden C. McClure, Sonya Dal Chin, Jennifer Gibson, James D. Sargent
Title: Ownership of Alcohol-Branded Merchandise and Initiation of Teen Drinking
Journal: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2006, 30 (4), 277-283.
Objective: To examine the impact of ownership of promotional items (eg hats, t-shirts) on the initiation of alcohol use in adolescents.
Design: Cross-sectional study (ownership of promotional items is only measured at the follow-up)
Setting: 15 New Hampshire and Vermont schools, US
Participants: 10-14 year old students in a cross-sectional survey (N = 4,655) with a longitudinal follow-up of never-drinkers (N = 2,406) of these never-drinkers at the baseline, 357 students initiated alcohol use during the follow up.
Methods: The non-drinkers in the initial survey (N=2406) are selected and asked in a follow-up about their alcohol use and their ownership of promotional items. It is examined in a Multi-level logistic regression whether there is an effect of the ownership of these items on the initiation of alcohol use after controlling for confounders (grade in school, school, gender, parent education, sensation seeking, rebelliousness, self-esteem), school performance, parenting style, and smoking experimentation).
Findings: Owners of alcohol branded merchandise had higher rates of alcohol initiation (25%) compared with non-owners (13.1%, p<.001). After adjusting for all confounders and accounting for clustering by school, adolescents who owned a promotional item were 1.5 times more likely to initiate alcohol use than adolescents who did not own a promotional item (OR=1.5, 95%CI=1.1-2.0).
As is already mentioned by the authors themselves, causal relationships between ownership of branded merchandise and drinking behaviour can not be established due to the cross-sectional design of the study. The analysis merely suggests an association between drinking behaviour and ownership of promotional items. The article of Sargent et al (2006) examines the effect of exposure to alcohol use in movies in a longitudinal study with the same sample.