In contrast to cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies are designed to observe a sample over an extended period or to study changes over time. In general, longitudinal studies are often the best way to study changes over time . To examine the effect of alcohol advertising and marketing on alcohol consumption in young people longitudinal studies are especially valuable because they capture what happens to individuals over time and can demonstrate whether individuals who differ in their exposure to advertising differ in their future drinking behaviour . Longitudinal studies provide the highest level of evidence that is available for evaluation of advertising and marketing exposure and subsequent drinking behaviour. If such studies are well designed, conducted and analysed they can provide supportive evidence for a causal relationship between a particular exposure and an outcome . Well conducted and designed longitudinal studies have a representative sample with a minimum of attrition. Besides a reliable measurement of the main predictors and outcomes, they include main confounding variables as well.
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