Young people have well-developed beliefs about alcohol even before they have experience with drinking. Although parents, peers, and other environmental influences are important in shaping these beliefs, and ultimately drinking behaviors, alcohol advertising may also be a source through which children and adolescents learn about alcohol. The available research, however, does not answer the question of whether alcohol advertising affects the drinking knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors of young people. Moreover, there is only a limited understanding of the themes and images portrayed in alcohol advertising and how children and adolescents interpret and respond to them. In order to address these issues, three inter-related studies of television and magazine alcohol and comparison (soft drink) advertising will be undertaken. Study 1 is a three-year longitudinal survey of 1,000 9-16 year-old children and adolescents and their parents. This study will investigate the effects of exposure to, attention to, and affect toward alcohol advertising on drinking knowledge, expectancies, perceived norms, intentions, and behaviors. The study will apply a theoretical model that stipulates how alcohol advertising is mediated and moderated by variables important for the message interpretation process. It will use a combination of computer assisted personal interviews, self-administered questionnaires, and interim telephone interviews. Study 2 is a content analysis focusing on the themes, images, and other characteristics of television and magazine alcohol and comparison advertisements. The content analyses will focus on objective characteristics of the advertisements (e.g., number and gender of characters) and on more subjective aspects of them (e.g., themes, images, and implied promises). In addition to providing important information about the nature of alcohol and comparison soft drink advertising, the data from the content analyses will be combined with the survey data. Study 3 win investigate young people's responses to and interpretations of alcohol and comparison advertising. It will thus provide a greater understanding of what qualities make alcohol advertisements appealing to young people. It will also provide important information about the interpretation process that children and adolescents use when exposed to alcohol advertisements. The overall goal of the research is to ascertain if, and under what circumstances, alcohol advertising predisposes young people to drink. The studies will increase our knowledge of the processes through which such changes occur and will provide a basis for designing effective prevention strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-FF (03))
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Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
United States
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Austin, Erica Weintraub; Chen, Meng-Jinn; Grube, Joel W (2006) How does alcohol advertising influence underage drinking? The role of desirability, identification and skepticism. J Adolesc Health 38:376-84
Agostinelli, Gina; Grube, Joel (2005) Effects of presenting heavy drinking norms on adolescents' prevalence estimates, evaluative judgments, and perceived standards. Prev Sci 6:89-99
Grube, Joel W; Waiters, Elizabeth (2005) Alcohol in the media: content and effects on drinking beliefs and behaviors among youth. Adolesc Med Clin 16:327-43, viii
Austin, Erica Weintraub; Hust, Stacey J T (2005) Targeting adolescents? The content and frequency of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage ads in magazine and video formats November 1999-April 2000. J Health Commun 10:769-85
Grube, Joel W; Stewart, Kathryn (2004) Preventing impaired driving using alcohol policy. Traffic Inj Prev 5:199-207
Agostinelli, Gina; Grube, Joel W (2003) Tobacco counter-advertising: a review of the literature and a conceptual model for understanding effects. J Health Commun 8:107-27
Agostinelli, Gina; Grube, Joel W (2002) Alcohol counter-advertising and the media. A review of recent research. Alcohol Res Health 26:15-21
Martin, Susan E; Snyder, Leslie B; Hamilton, Mark et al. (2002) Alcohol advertising and youth. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 26:900-6
Gruber, E; Grube, J W (2000) Adolescent sexuality and the media: a review of current knowledge and implications. West J Med 172:210-4