Young Adults' Exposure to Alcohol- and Marijuana-Related Content on Twitter

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 Mar;77(2):349-53. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2016.77.349.


Objective: Twitter is among the most popular social media platforms used by young adults, yet it has been underutilized in substance use research compared with older platforms (e.g., MySpace and Facebook). We took a first step toward studying the associations between exposure to pro-alcohol- and marijuana-related content among young adults via Twitter and current heavy episodic drinking and current marijuana use, respectively.

Method: We conducted an online survey of 587 (254 men, 333 women) Twitter users between ages 18 and 25 years in February 2014 using an online survey system that has been previously used in research on health behaviors and attitudes.

Results: Current heavy episodic drinking was significantly associated with higher levels of exposure to pro-alcohol content. Similarly, current marijuana use was significantly associated with higher levels of exposure to pro-marijuana content.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in-depth research regarding young adults' exposure to pro-alcohol- and marijuana-related content via Twitter may provide a foundation for developing effective prevention messages on this social media platform to counter the pro-alcohol and marijuana messages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / prevention & control*
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult