Exposure to Television Alcohol Brand Appearances as Predictor of Adolescent Brand Affiliation and Drinking Behaviors

Abstract

Adolescence and the transition to adulthood is an important developmental stage in the emergence of health risk behaviors, specifically underage alcohol use. Adolescents consume a tremendous amount of screened media (primarily streamed television), and media depictions of behaviors is prospectively linked to youth initiation of behaviors. With the arrival of streamed media technology, alcohol advertising can be nested within television content. This study describes alcohol brand depictions in television and evaluates impact of exposure to such depictions on adolescent drinking outcomes. A national sample of 2012 adolescents (Mage = 17.07; SD = 1.60 years, range 15–20; 50.70% female) reported on television viewership, alcohol brand affiliation, and drinking behavior, with follow-up one year later. Ten series (that remain relevant to youth today) across television ratings from a single television season were content coded for presence/salience of alcohol brand appearances. Adjusting for covariates (e.g., peer/parent drinking, youth sensation seeking, movie alcohol brand exposure), higher exposure to brand appearances in the television shows was associated with youth drinking. Aspirational and usual brand to drink corresponded to television alcohol brand prominence, and television brand exposure was independently associated with drinking initiation and hazardous drinking.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the support provided by Dr. James Sargent in allowing access to data collected through his grant (AA021347) for this manuscript.

Authors’ Contributions

J.G. conceived of the study, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; E.C. contributed to drafts and revisions of the manuscript; S.G. conceived of the study and drafted portions of the manuscript; A.M. and S.T. participated in the design and coordination of the parent study, supported interpretation of results, and reviewed and edited all manuscript drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

AA021347 (Tanski & McClure); T32 DA037202 (Gabrielli) The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Joy Gabrielli.

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This study was approved by the Dartmouth College Institutional Review Board (CPHS # 15445).

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All individual participants consented to the study after being informed on the purpose of the study and its privacy policy. Informed consent was obtained from all adult participants (those aged 18 years or older) and assent and parental consent was obtained for youth participants (those under the age of 18 years).

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Gabrielli, J., Corcoran, E., Genis, S. et al. Exposure to Television Alcohol Brand Appearances as Predictor of Adolescent Brand Affiliation and Drinking Behaviors. J Youth Adolescence (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01397-0

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Keywords

  • Alcohol product placement
  • Underage drinking
  • Television alcohol exposure