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Does Industry-Driven Alcohol Marketing Influence Adolescent Drinking Behaviour? A Systematic Review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Steph Scott, Dr Colin Muirhead, Dr Rachel Tyrrell, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author 2016. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. AIM: To systematically review evidence on the influence of specific marketing components (Price, Promotion, Product attributes and Place of sale/availability) on key drinking outcomes (initiation, continuation, frequency and intensity) in young people aged 9-17. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, PsychINFO, CINAHL and ProQuest were searched from inception to July 2015, supplemented with searches of Google Scholar, hand searches of key journals and backward and forward citation searches of reference lists of identified papers. RESULTS: Forty-eight papers covering 35 unique studies met inclusion criteria. Authors tended to report that greater exposure to alcohol marketing impacted on drinking initiation, continuation, frequency and intensity during adolescence. Nevertheless, 23 (66%) studies reported null results or negative associations, often in combination with positive associations, resulting in mixed findings within and across studies. Heterogeneity in study design, content and outcomes prevented estimation of effect sizes or exploration of variation between countries or age subgroups. The strength of the evidence base differed according to type of marketing exposure and drinking outcome studied, with support for an association between alcohol promotion (mainly advertising) and drinking outcomes in adolescence, whilst only two studies examined the relationship between alcohol price and the drinking behaviour of those under the age of 18. CONCLUSION: Despite the volume of work, evidence is inconclusive in all four areas of marketing but strongest for promotional activity. Future research with standardized measures is needed to build on this work and better inform interventions and policy responses.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott S, Muirhead C, Shucksmith J, Tyrrell R, Kaner E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Alcohol & Alcoholism

Year: 2017

Volume: 52

Issue: 1

Pages: 84-94

Online publication date: 20/12/2016

Acceptance date: 26/10/2016

Date deposited: 04/04/2017

ISSN (print): 1464-3502

Publisher: Oxford University Press



PubMed id: 27864186


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Funder referenceFunder name
UKCRC, Res 590-25-0004