The alcohol warning and adolescents: 5-year effects

Am J Public Health. 2000 Oct;90(10):1589-94. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.10.1589.


Objectives: This study, a follow-up to the authors earlier report, examined the effects of the alcohol warning label on adolescents during the first 5 years that the warning was required.

Methods: Surveys were administered to 10th-grade (n = 16,661) and 12th-grade (n = 15,856) students from the 1989-1990 school year through the 1994-1995 school year. The measures were awareness of, exposure to, and recognition memory of the alcohol warning label; beliefs about the risks listed on the warning; and open-ended statements about consequences of alcohol use, alcohol consumption, and self-reported driving after drinking.

Results: There were increases in warning awareness, exposure, and recognition memory. These effects leveled off approximately 3.5 years after the inclusion of the warning on alcohol beverage containers. There was no beneficial change attributable to the warning in beliefs, alcohol consumption, or driving after drinking.

Conclusions: The initial positive effects of the alcohol warning label on adolescents have leveled off, consistent with theories of repeated exposure to persuasive information. The alcohol warning has not affected adolescents' beliefs about alcohol or alcohol-related behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Beverages / classification*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Product Labeling*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires