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Meta-Analysis
. 2018 Jun;42(6):978-986.
doi: 10.1111/acer.13642. Epub 2018 May 22.

Meta-Analysis of the Association of Alcohol-Related Social Media Use With Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Problems in Adolescents and Young Adults

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Meta-Analysis

Meta-Analysis of the Association of Alcohol-Related Social Media Use With Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Problems in Adolescents and Young Adults

Brenda L Curtis et al. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. .
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Abstract

Despite the pervasive use of social media by young adults, there is comparatively little known about whether, and how, engagement in social media influences this group's drinking patterns and risk of alcohol-related problems. We examined the relations between young adults' alcohol-related social media engagement (defined as the posting, liking, commenting, and viewing of alcohol-related social media content) and their drinking behavior and problems. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating the association of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems with alcohol-related social media engagement. Summary baseline variables regarding the social media platform used (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), social media measures assessed (e.g., number of alcohol photographs posted), alcohol measures (e.g., Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and Timeline Follow back Interview), and the number of time points at which data were collected were extracted from each published study. We used the Q statistic to examine heterogeneity in the correlations between alcohol-related social media engagement and both drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems. Because there was significant heterogeneity, we used a random-effects model to evaluate the difference from zero of the weighted aggregate correlations. We used metaregression with study characteristics as moderators to test for moderators of the observed heterogeneity. Following screening, 19 articles met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. The primary findings indicated a statistically significant relationship and moderate effect sizes between alcohol-related social media engagement and both alcohol consumption (r = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.29 to 0.44, p < 0.001) and alcohol-related problems (r = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.51, p < 0.001). There was significant heterogeneity among studies. Two significant predictors of heterogeneity were (i) whether there was joint measurement of alcohol-related social media engagement and drinking behavior or these were measured on different occasions and (ii) whether measurements were taken by self-report or observation of social media engagement. We found moderate-sized effects across the 19 studies: Greater alcohol-related social media engagement was correlated with both greater self-reported drinking and alcohol-related problems. Further research to determine the causal direction of these associations could provide opportunities for social media-based interventions with young drinkers aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related adverse consequences.

Keywords: Adolescents; Alcohol; Meta-Analysis; Social Media; Underage Drinking; Young Adults.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Study Flow Diagram
Figure 2
Figure 2
Forest Plot for Alcohol Consumption
Figure 3
Figure 3
Alcohol Consumption Funnel Plot
Figure 4
Figure 4
Forest Plot of Correlations between Social Media Alcohol Exposure and Alcohol-Related Problems
Figure 5
Figure 5
Alcohol Problems Funnel Plot

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