Underage drinking tied to TV advertising
There are a plethora of alcohol commercials on TV every day. So do they influence the youth of America? Researchers from Dartmouth recently explored that question in a study whose findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.
The study involved 2,541 participants between the ages of 15 and 23. Participants initially took a telephone or web survey in 2011 involving their memory of TV alcohol advertisements that they saw between 2010 to 2011. Then 1,596 people took a follow-up survey in 2013. If the participants correctly remembered and enjoyed the ad as well as identified the brand, they received an alcohol receptivity score.
Researchers found underage people with higher alcohol receptivity scores were connected to drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking. In the 15 to 17-year-old group, 29 percent reported binge drinking and 18 percent reported hazardous drinking. Meanwhile, the 18 to 20-year-old group reported 29 percent binge drinking and 19 percent hazardous drinking.
These underage people were almost just as likely to see alcohol advertisements as their legal age peers. Overall, 23.4 percent of 15 to 17-year-olds, 22.7 percent of 18 to 20-year-olds and 25.6 percent of 21 to 23-year-olds had viewed alcohol advertisements on TV.
These findings add to previous studies that suggest TV advertisements are a factor in influencing underage drinking. The study noted current TV standards and practices do little to shield youth from exposure to alcohol advertising.