The pattern of alcohol consumption in the form of binge drinking (BD) or heavy episodic drinking has increased notably worldwide in recent years, especially among adolescent and young people, being currently recognized as a global health problem. Although only a minority of binge drinkers will develop a substance use disorder, BD may have negative personal and social consequences in the short and medium term. The objective of this article is to review the findings on personality traits related to binge drinkers and to emphasize the aspects that should be examined in order to make progress in this area. The main characteristics of personality related to the practice of BD, regardless of the theoretical model used, are high Impulsivity and high Sensation seeking, as well as Anxiety sensitivity, Neuroticism (Hopelessness), Extraversion and low Conscientiousness. The data obtained may have theoretical implications to elucidate the endophenotype of BD, but they are especially useful for their preventive applications. Integration into prevention programs of emotional self-control skills, decision-making, social skills, and strategies to manage negative emotions will minimize the risk factors or consequences of BD associated with personality and will improve their effectiveness. In the future, it is necessary to harmonize a common measurement instrument for the assessment of personality, develop longitudinal studies with large samples that also integrate biological and neurocognitive measurements, and determine the reciprocal relationship between personality and BD together with its modulating variables, as well as the possible cultural differences
01 February 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Mixing alcohol with diet beverages, as compared to mixing the same amount of alcohol with a regular beverage, is associated with greater intoxication. This may occur because diet mixers increase alcohol absorption rates. Thus, it is plausible that the use of diet mixers may increase the risk of alcohol-related harms. The current study sought to (1) determine the rate/frequency of use in among college students, (2) examine the relationship between mixing alcohol with diet beverages and alcohol-related problems, above typical alcohol use and sensation seeking, and (3) explore key traits (gender, restricting food while drinking, and body mass index [BMI]) that may characterize users. Participants were 686 (73% female) undergraduate students who completed self-reports of alcohol use (including diet mixer use), alcohol-related problems, eating behaviors while drinking, sensation seeking, and demographic information. Results revealed that about 36% of the sample reported consuming alcohol with diet mixers, and users typically consumed this beverage at least once a month. Students who reported mixing alcohol with diet beverages experienced more alcohol-related problems. And, the more frequently one consumed this beverage, the more problems were reported. These associations were found after controlling for typical level of alcohol use and sensation seeking. No differences were observed between user-status on gender, eating behaviors while drinking, and BMI. Our findings suggest that mixing alcohol with diet beverages could be a risk factor for experiencing more alcohol-related harms. Further research is needed to understand this relationship, as it may help guide intervening efforts aimed to reduce alcohol-related risks.

27 January 2016 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Internet alcohol marketing is not well studied despite its prevalence and potential accessibility and attractiveness to youth. The objective was to examine longitudinal associations between self-reported engagement with Internet alcohol marketing and alcohol use transitions in youth.

METHODS: A US sample of 2012 youths aged 15 to 20 was surveyed in 2011. An Internet alcohol marketing receptivity score was developed, based on number of positive responses to seeing alcohol advertising on the Internet, visiting alcohol brand Web sites, being an online alcohol brand fan, and cued recall of alcohol brand home page images. We assessed the association between baseline marketing receptivity and both ever drinking and binge drinking (>/=6 drinks per occasion) at 1-year follow-up with multiple logistic regression, controlling for baseline drinking status, Internet use, sociodemographics, personality characteristics, and peer or parent drinking.

RESULTS: At baseline, ever-drinking and binge-drinking prevalence was 55% and 27%, respectively. Many (59%) reported seeing Internet alcohol advertising, but few reported going to an alcohol Web site (6%) or being an online fan (3%). Higher Internet use, sensation seeking, having family or peers who drank, and past alcohol use were associated with Internet alcohol marketing receptivity, and a score of 1 or 2 was independently associated with greater adjusted odds of initiating binge drinking (odds ratio 1.77; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-2.78 and odds ratio 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-4.37 respectively) but not with initiation of ever drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: Although high levels of engagement with Internet alcohol marketing were uncommon, most underage youths reported seeing it, and we found a prospective association between receptivity to this type of alcohol marketing and future problem drinking, making additional research and ongoing surveillance important.

26 March 2015 In Social and Cultural Aspects

IMPORTANCE: Alcohol is the most common drug among youth and a major contributor to morbidity and mortality worldwide. Billions of dollars are spent annually marketing alcohol.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the reach of television alcohol advertising and its effect on drinking among underage youth.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Longitudinal telephone- and web-based surveys conducted in 2011 and 2013 involving 2541 US adolescents 15 to 23 years of age at baseline, with 1596 of these adolescents completing the follow-up survey. Cued recall of television advertising images for top beer and distilled spirits brands that aired nationally in 2010-2011 (n = 351). Images were digitally edited to remove branding, and the respondents were queried about 20 randomly selected images. An alcohol advertising receptivity score was derived (1 point each for having seen the ad and for liking it, and 2 points for correct brand identification). Fast-food ads that aired nationally in 2010-2011 (n = 535) were similarly queried to evaluate message specificity.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Among the underage youth at baseline, we determined (1) the onset of drinking among those who never drank, (2) the onset of binge drinking among those who were never binge drinkers, and (3) the onset of hazardous drinking among those with an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test consumption subscore of less than 4. Multivariate regressions were used to predict each outcome, controlling for covariates (demographics, drinking among friends and parents, and sensation seeking), weighting to the US population, and using multiple imputation to address loss to follow-up.

RESULTS: Underage participants were only slightly less likely than participants of legal drinking age to have seen alcohol ads (the mean percentage of ads seen were 23.4%, 22.7%, and 25.6%, respectively, for youth 15-17, 18-20, and 21-23 years of age; P < .005). The transition to binge and hazardous drinking occurred for 29% and 18% of youth 15 to 17 years of age and for 29% and 19% of youth 18 to 20 years years of age, respectively. Among underage participants, the alcohol advertising receptivity score independently predicted the onset of drinking (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.69 [95% CI, 1.17-2.44]), the onset of binge drinking (AOR, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.08-1.77]), and the onset of hazardous drinking (AOR, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.19-1.86]). Fast-food advertising receptivity was not associated with any drinking outcome.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Receptivity to television alcohol advertising predicted the transition to multiple drinking outcomes. The findings are consistent with the idea that marketing self-regulation has failed to keep television alcohol advertising from reaching large numbers of underage persons and affecting their drinking patterns.

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