26 March 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: We investigated the population-level relationship between exposure to brand-specific advertising and brand-specific alcohol use among US youth.

METHODS: We conducted an internet survey of a national sample of 1031 youth, ages 13-20, who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. We ascertained all of the alcohol brands respondents consumed in the past 30 days, as well as which of 20 popular television shows they had viewed during that time period. Using a negative binomial regression model, we examined the relationship between aggregated brand-specific exposure to alcohol advertising on the 20 television shows [ad stock, measured in gross rating points (GRPs)] and youth brand-consumption prevalence, while controlling for the average price and overall market share of each brand.

RESULTS: Brands with advertising exposure on the 20 television shows had a consumption prevalence about four times higher than brands not advertising on those shows. Brand-level advertising elasticity of demand varied by exposure level, with higher elasticity in the lower exposure range. The estimated advertising elasticity of 0.63 in the lower exposure range indicates that for each 1% increase in advertising exposure, a brand's youth consumption prevalence increases by 0.63%.

CONCLUSIONS: At the population level, underage youths' exposure to brand-specific advertising was a significant predictor of the consumption prevalence of that brand, independent of each brand's price and overall market share. The non-linearity of the observed relationship suggests that youth advertising exposure may need to be lowered substantially in order to decrease consumption of the most heavily advertised brands.

26 March 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Different drinkers may experience specific risks depending on where they consume alcohol. This longitudinal study examined drinking patterns, and demographic and psychosocial characteristics associated with youth drinking in different contexts.

METHODS: We used survey data from 665 past-year alcohol-using youths (ages 13 to 16 at Wave 1) in 50 midsized California cities. Measures of drinking behaviors and drinking in 7 contexts were obtained at 3 annual time points. Other characteristics included gender, age, race, parental education, weekly disposable income, general deviance, and past-year cigarette smoking.

RESULTS: Results of multilevel regression analyses show that more frequent past-year alcohol use was associated with an increased likelihood of drinking at parties and at someone else's home. Greater continued volumes of alcohol (i.e., heavier drinking) was associated with increased likelihood of drinking at parking lots or street corners. Deviance was positively associated with drinking in most contexts, and past-year cigarette smoking was positively associated with drinking at beaches or parks and someone else's home. Age and deviance were positively associated with drinking in a greater number of contexts. The likelihood of youth drinking at parties and someone else's home increased over time, whereas the likelihood of drinking at parking lots/street corners decreased. Also, deviant youths progress to drinking in their own home, beaches or parks, and restaurants/bars/nightclubs more rapidly.

CONCLUSIONS: The contexts in which youths consume alcohol change over time. These changes vary by individual characteristics. The redistribution of drinking contexts over the early life course may contribute to specific risks associated with different drinking contexts.

05 March 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Endogenous targeting of alcohol advertisements presents a challenge for empirically identifying a causal effect of advertising on drinking. Drinkers prefer a particular media; firms recognize this and target alcohol advertising at these media. This paper overcomes this challenge by utilizing novel data with detailed individual measures of media viewing and alcohol consumption and three separate empirical techniques, which represent significant improvements over previous methods. First, controls for the average audience characteristics of the media an individual views account for attributes of magazines and television programs alcohol firms may consider when deciding where to target advertising. A second specification directly controls for each television program and magazine a person views. The third method exploits variation in advertising exposure due to a 2003 change in an industry-wide rule that governs where firms may advertise. Although the unconditional correlation between advertising and drinking by youth (ages 18-24) is strong, models that include simple controls for targeting imply, at most, a modest advertising effect. Although the coefficients are estimated less precisely, estimates with models including more rigorous controls for targeting indicate no significant effect of advertising on youth drinking. 

23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIM: To assess the association between heavy episodic drinking (HED) and deliberate self-harm (DSH) in young people in Norway.

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND MEASUREMENTS: We analysed data on past-year HED and DSH from the second (1994) and third (1999) waves of the Young in Norway Longitudinal Study (cumulative response rate: 68.1%, n = 2647). Associations between HED and DSH were obtained as odds ratios and population-attributable fractions (PAF) applying fixed-effects modelling, which eliminates the effects of time-invariant confounders. FINDINGS: An increase in HED was associated with an increase in risk of DSH (OR = 1.64, P = 0.013), after controlling for time-varying confounders. The estimated PAF was 28% from fixed-effects modelling and 51% from conventional modelling.

CONCLUSION: Data on Norwegian youths show a statistically significant association between heavy episodic drinking and deliberate self-harm.

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