Use of social networking sites and alcohol consumption among adolescents

Public Health. 2016 Oct;139:88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 Jun 13.

Abstract

Objectives: Research indicates that screen time (e.g. TV viewing) is associated with alcohol consumption in adolescents; however, very little is known about the link between the use of social networking sites (SNSs) and alcohol intake in this age group. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between the use of SNSs and alcohol consumption among Canadian middle and high school students, and to test whether this link varies by sex and drinking frequency or intensity.

Study design: School-based cross-sectional study.

Methods: Self-reported data on time spent on SNSs, alcohol consumption and sociodemographic characteristics were obtained from 10,072 participants within the 2013 cycle of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, a province-wide survey of students in grades 7-12 (11-20 years old).

Results: Adolescent females who reported daily use of SNSs (≤2 hours/day or >2 hours/day) were more likely than those who use them infrequently or do not use them at all to report both occasional and regular alcohol consumption in the past 12 months, while adolescent males who reported daily use of SNSs were more likely than those who use SNSs infrequently or do not use them at all to report regular alcohol use in the past 12 months. The use of SNSs was also associated with report of binge drinking (defined as drinking five or more drinks on one occasion) in the past 4 weeks in both males and females.

Conclusions: Results provide evidence that the use of SNSs is associated with alcohol consumption among adolescents. Differences between males and females in the reported associations warrant further investigations.

Keywords: Adolescents; Alcohol; Binge drinking; Social networking sites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Binge Drinking / psychology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult