Study shows that minors who recognize ads for beer and spirits are more likely to drink.
BOSTON – Minors who were familiar with television alcohol advertisements were more likely to have tried alcoholic beverages and binge drink than those who could not recall seeing such ads, according to a study to be presented Sunday, April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.
“Underage drinking remains an important health risk in the U.S.,” said lead author Susanne E. Tanski, MD, MPH, FAAP, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “In this study, we have shown a link between recognition of nationally televised alcohol advertisements and underage drinking initiation and heavier use patterns.”
Previous research by Dr. Tanski and her colleagues showed an association between seeing smoking and drinking in movies and adolescents engaging in these risky behaviors. This study expanded on that research by exploring whether there is an association between young people’s exposure to television alcohol advertising and substance use.
The researchers surveyed a national sample of 2,541 youths ages 15 to 20 years. Participants were asked about their age, gender, race, if their friends drank, if their parents drank, whether they had a favorite alcohol ad and whether they owned alcohol-branded merchandise. They also were asked questions to assess whether they engaged in “sensation-seeking” behavior.