By On March 6th, 2009

Walking Billboards

According to findings from a study recently published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, adolescents who wear T-shirts with a beer logo on it are more likely to drink alcohol. The researchers also found the opposite to be true, that adolescents who drank were more likely to possess alcohol-branded merchandise. The association here may seem to be obvious; people buy merchandise that is reflective of their interests, right? Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Of the 6,522 adolescents surveyed, 71% owned alcohol-branded merchandise because a “friend or family member” bought it for them.

The study followed adolescents ages 10 through 14 for a period of 24 months monitoring alcohol consumption. During this period adolescents who owned alcohol-branded merchandise were at greater risk for first time use and binge drinking. Apparently, advertising alcohol products via clothing is effective. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that discusses the subject more:

At the eight-month survey, 4,309 of the participants were never-drinkers, the researchers found, but 11% of the cohort had at least one piece of alcohol-branded merchandise.

That proportion increased to 20% at 24 months, they said.

The researchers found that 88% of the merchandise was clothing and headwear — 75% of items sported beer brands, and 45% bore the Budweiser label.

Most of the goods (71%) were obtained from friends or family, but 24% were purchased by the adolescents themselves.

A range of variables was significantly associated with ownership of such merchandise at the eight-month survey, the researchers found, including:

* Attitudinal susceptibility to alcohol use, defined as positive feeling about the topic. The odds ratio was 1.94, with a 95% confidence interval from 1.52 to 2.49

* Exposure to alcohol in movies, where the odds ratio was 2.91 with a 95% confidence interval from 2.09 to 4.06

* Peer drinking, where the odds ratio was 1.50 with a 95% confidence interval from 1.19 to 1.89

* Ability to obtain alcohol at home, where the odds ratio was 2.10 with a 95% confidence interval from 1.56 to 2.85

On the other hand, a multivariate analysis showed that owning alcohol-branded goods at the eight-month survey was associated (at P<0.05) with susceptibility to alcohol use at that time.

Susceptibility, in turn, was significantly associated (also at P<0.05) with trying alcohol between the eight- and 16-month surveys.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

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