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The Impact of Alcohol Marketing on Youth Drinking Behaviour: A Two-stage Cohort Study

Ross Gordon, Anne Marie MacKintosh, Crawford Moodie
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agq047 470-480 First published online: 25 August 2010

Abstract

Aim: To examine whether awareness of, and involvement with alcohol marketing at age 13 is predictive of initiation of drinking, frequency of drinking and units of alcohol consumed at age 15. Methods: A two-stage cohort study, involving a questionnaire survey, combining interview and self-completion, was administered in respondents’ homes. Respondents were drawn from secondary schools in three adjoining local authority areas in the West of Scotland, UK. From a baseline sample of 920 teenagers (aged 12–14, mean age 13), in 2006, a cohort of 552 was followed up 2 years later (aged 14–16, mean age 15). Data were gathered on multiple forms of alcohol marketing and measures of drinking initiation, frequency and consumption. Results: At follow-up, logistic regression demonstrated that, after controlling for confounding variables, involvement with alcohol marketing at baseline was predictive of both uptake of drinking and increased frequency of drinking. Awareness of marketing at baseline was also associated with an increased frequency of drinking at follow-up. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate an association between involvement with, and awareness of, alcohol marketing and drinking uptake or increased drinking frequency, and we consider whether the current regulatory environment affords youth sufficient protection from alcohol marketing.

    • Received February 22, 2010.
    • Revision received July 20, 2010.
    • Accepted July 23, 2010.
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