27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Young people frequently display alcohol-related posts ("alcoholposts") on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Although evidence exists that such posts may be linked with increases in alcohol consumption, hardly any studies have focused on the content of such posts. This study addresses this gap by applying and extending the alcoholpost-typology previously proposed by Hendriks, Gebhardt, and van den Putte. A content analysis assessed the extent to which alcoholposts were displayed on Facebook and/or Instagram profiles of young participants (12-30 years; N = 192), and which type of alcoholpost these posts most strongly resembled. Moderate alcoholposts (e.g., in which alcohol was in the background) were most often posted. At times, textual alcoholposts and commercial alcoholposts were also displayed; however, extreme posts (e.g., about drunk people or drinking-games) were almost nonexistent. These findings confirm the previous results by Hendriks et al. that moderate posts are more frequently posted than extreme posts. This could imply that positive associations with alcohol consumption are more visible on social media than negative associations, potentially leading to an underestimation of alcohol-related risks.

26 November 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol-brand social networking pages and Facebook users' drinking attitudes and behaviours.

METHODS: Cross-sectional, self-report data were obtained from a convenience sample of 283 Australian Facebook users aged 16-24 years via an online survey.

RESULTS: More than half of the respondents reported using Facebook for more than an hour daily. While only 20% had actively interacted with an alcohol brand on Facebook, we found a significant association between this active interaction and alcohol consumption, and a strong association between engagement with alcohol brands on Facebook and problematic drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study demonstrate the need for further research into the complex interaction between social networking and alcohol consumption, and add support to calls for effective regulation of alcohol marketing on social network platforms.

23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Consuming an unhealthy level of alcohol is a significant problem for some young women. Potential determinants of excess consumption include perceptions of usual consumption among peers-perceptions of what is "normal." The present study examined whether perceptions of social normative endorsement of drinking, operationalized by measures of perceived alcohol consumption of close friends (proximal norms), the consumption of the "average student" (distal norms), and the extent of alcohol-related content posted by peers on Facebook were related to alcohol-related attitudes and self-reported consumption. Female university students (n=129; Mage=21.48 years, SD=3.00) completed an online questionnaire assessing Facebook use, perceived alcohol-related norms, and self-reported alcohol attitudes and consumption. Perceptions of the consumption of the average female student were a negative predictor of attitudes. Positive alcohol attitudes, extent of own alcohol-related photographic posts on Facebook, average female student alcohol consumption, and report of male close friend consumption predicted self-report of own alcohol consumption. Interestingly, female close friend norms failed to predict consumption, whereas male close friend norms predicted consumption but not attitudes, suggesting the possibility of separate cognitive pathways for alcohol-related attitudes and behavior. This study builds on existing research by casting new light on predictors of alcohol-related attitudes, as well as describing the potential role of social networking sites such as Facebook in the formation of social norms and the modulation of drinking behavior.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

PURPOSE: Exposure to alcohol use in media is associated with adolescent alcohol use. Adolescents frequently display alcohol references on Internet media, such as social networking web sites. The purpose of this study was to conduct a theoretically based content analysis of older adolescents' displayed alcohol references on a social networking web site.

METHODS: We evaluated 400 randomly selected public MySpace profiles of self-reported 17- to 20-year-olds from zip codes, representing urban, suburban, and rural communities in one Washington county. Content was evaluated for alcohol references, suggesting: (1) explicit versus figurative alcohol use, (2) alcohol-related motivations, associations, and consequences, including references that met CRAFFT problem drinking criteria. We compared profiles from four target zip codes for prevalence and frequency of alcohol display.

RESULTS: Of 400 profiles, 225 (56.3%) contained 341 references to alcohol. Profile owners who displayed alcohol references were mostly male (54.2%) and white (70.7%). The most frequent reference category was explicit use (49.3%); the most commonly displayed alcohol use motivation was peer pressure (4.7%). Few references met CRAFFT problem drinking criteria (3.2%). There were no differences in prevalence or frequency of alcohol display among the four sociodemographic communities.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite alcohol use being illegal and potentially stigmatizing in this population, explicit alcohol use is frequently referenced on adolescents' MySpace profiles across several sociodemographic communities. Motivations, associations, and consequences regarding alcohol use referenced on MySpace appear consistent with previous studies of adolescent alcohol use. These references may be a potent source of influence on adolescents, particularly given that they are created and displayed by peers.

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