Aims: To examine the nature of the relationships between responses to alcohol advertisements and drinking behaviour and related problems. To examine the role of positive and negative beliefs about drinking as intervening variables.
Design: Survey utilizing a CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) system, involving interviews with 1012 randomly selected respondents.
Setting: Respondents were randomly selected from throughout New Zealand.
Participants: Eighteen to twenty-nine-year-old New Zealanders.
Measurements: Response to specific alcohol advertisements was measured by recalled exposure (how often they recalled having seen the advertisements) and liking (a measure of positive response).
Findings: An exploratory non-recursive structural equation model, based on 791 drinkers provided tentative support for the hypothesis that positive responses to televised beer advertisements (as measured by liking) contributed to the quantity of alcohol consumed on drinking occasions, which in turn contributed to the level of alcohol-related problems. The model, which provided a good fit to the data, was consistent with the hypothesis that liking of beer advertisements had both a direct influence on quantities of alcohol consumed and an indirect influence, via its influence on positive beliefs. These effects were present after controlling for reciprocal effects, none of which were significant. The data did not support the hypothesis that the quantities of alcohol consumed would influence the respondent's liking of beer advertisements. Recalled exposure was not a significant influence on the quantities consumed.
Conclusions: The results are consistent with a number of theoretical perspectives and with a growing body of research that are suggestive of alcohol advertising having some influence on the consumption of younger people.