Children's exposure to alcohol advertising during early adolescence appears to influence both beer drinking and their intentions to drink a year later, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.
The study of children in the sixth and seventh grades found that those exposed to alcohol advertising at high levels from television, magazines, in-store displays and promotional items like T-shirts and posters were 50 percent more likely to drink and 36 percent more likely to intend to drink than children whose exposure to alcohol advertising was very low.
Previous studies have found that adolescents on average see at least 245 television ads for alcoholic beverages every year, and that these ads may promote drinking. But the RAND study is unique because it also asked adolescents about advertising in magazines, radio and elsewhere, along with whether they owned any promotional items from alcoholic beverage companies.
"Parents may be aware that advertising may promote drinking among early adolescents," said Rebecca L. Collins, a RAND senior behavioral scientist and lead author of the study. "We did a previous study that found that children as young as fourth grade were very familiar with alcohol advertising and can tell you slogans and brand names. This new study shows that by the time they get to sixth grade, ads may be influencing them to drink."
"Parents often think they don't have to worry about their kids drinking before they get to high school, but sixth grade -- or even before then-- is the time to talk with children about alcohol marketing techniques, as well as drinking," Collins added. "Getting kids to think critically about ads may lessen any effects the ads have."
The study by RAND, a nonprofit research organization, is titled "Early Adolescent Exposure to Alcohol Advertising and its Relationship to Underage Drinking" and is available from the Journal of Adolescent Health Web site at www.JAHOnline.o
Contact: RAND Office of Media Relations
703-413-1100, ext. 5117