27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

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.

27 July 2018 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Young people frequently display alcohol-related posts ("alcoholposts") on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Although evidence exists that such posts may be linked with increases in alcohol consumption, hardly any studies have focused on the content of such posts. This study addresses this gap by applying and extending the alcoholpost-typology previously proposed by Hendriks, Gebhardt, and van den Putte. A content analysis assessed the extent to which alcoholposts were displayed on Facebook and/or Instagram profiles of young participants (12-30 years; N = 192), and which type of alcoholpost these posts most strongly resembled. Moderate alcoholposts (e.g., in which alcohol was in the background) were most often posted. At times, textual alcoholposts and commercial alcoholposts were also displayed; however, extreme posts (e.g., about drunk people or drinking-games) were almost nonexistent. These findings confirm the previous results by Hendriks et al. that moderate posts are more frequently posted than extreme posts. This could imply that positive associations with alcohol consumption are more visible on social media than negative associations, potentially leading to an underestimation of alcohol-related risks.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated whether self-reports of alcohol-related postings on Facebook by oneself or one's Facebook friends were related to common motives for drinking and were uniquely predictive of self-reported alcohol outcomes (alcohol consumption, problems, and cravings).

METHOD: Pacific Northwest undergraduates completed a survey of alcohol outcomes, drinking motives, and alcohol-related Facebook postings. Participants completed the survey online as part of a larger study on alcohol use and cognitive associations. Participants were randomly selected through the university registrar's office and consisted of 1,106 undergraduates (449 men, 654 women, 2 transgender, 1 declined to answer) between the ages of 18 and 25 years (M = 20.40, SD = 1.60) at a large university in the Pacific Northwest. Seven participants were excluded from analyses because of missing or suspect data.

RESULTS: Alcohol-related postings on Facebook were significantly correlated with social, enhancement, conformity, and coping motives for drinking (all ps < .001). After drinking motives were controlled for, self-alcohol-related postings independently and positively predicted the number of drinks per week, alcohol-related problems, risk of alcohol use disorders, and alcohol cravings (all ps < .001). In contrast, friends' alcohol-related postings only predicted the risk of alcohol use disorders (p < .05) and marginally predicted alcohol-related problems (p = .07).

CONCLUSIONS: Posting alcohol-related content on social media platforms such as Facebook is associated with common motivations for drinking and is, in itself, a strong predictive indicator of drinking outcomes independent of drinking motives. Moreover, self-related posting activity appears to be more predictive than Facebook friends' activity. These findings suggest that social media platforms may be a useful target for future preventative and intervention efforts.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is estimated to be the fifth leading risk factor for global disability-adjusted life years. Restricting or banning alcohol advertising may reduce exposure to the risk posed by alcohol at the individual and general population level. To date, no systematic review has evaluated the effectiveness, possible harms and cost-effectiveness of this intervention.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the benefits, harms and costs of restricting or banning the advertising of alcohol, via any format, compared with no restrictions or counter-advertising, on alcohol consumption in adults and adolescents. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group Specialised Register (May 2014); CENTRAL (Issue 5, 2014); MEDLINE (1966 to 28 May 2014); EMBASE (1974 to 28 May 2014); PsychINFO (June 2013); and five alcohol and marketing databases in October 2013. We also searched seven conference databases and www.clinicaltrials.gov and http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/ in October 2013. We checked the reference lists of all studies identified and those of relevant systematic reviews or guidelines, and contacted researchers, policymakers and other experts in the field for published or unpublished data, regardless of language.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials, prospective and retrospective cohort studies, controlled before-and-after studies and interrupted time series (ITS) studies that evaluated the restriction or banning of alcohol advertising via any format including advertising in the press, on the television, radio, or internet, via billboards, social media or product placement in films. The data could be at the individual (adults or adolescent) or population level.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used the standard methodological procedures expected by The Cochrane Collaboration.

MAIN RESULTS: We included one small RCT (80 male student participants conducted in the Netherlands and published in 2009) and three ITS studies (general population studies in Canadian provinces conducted in the 1970s and 80s).The RCT found that young men exposed to movies with a low-alcohol content drank less than men exposed to movies with a high-alcohol content (mean difference (MD) -0.65 drinks; 95% CI -1.2, -0.07; p value = 0.03, very-low-quality evidence). Young men exposed to commercials with a low-alcohol content compared with those exposed to neutral commercials drank less (MD -0.73 drinks; 95% CI -1.30, -0.16; p value = 0.01, very-low-quality evidence). Outcomes were assessed immediately after the end of the intervention (lasting 1.5 hours), so no follow-up data were available. Using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach, the quality of the evidence was rated as very low due to a serious risk of bias, serious indirectness of the included population and serious level of imprecision.Two of the ITS studies evaluated the implementation of an advertising ban and one study evaluated the lifting of such a ban. Each of the three ITS studies evaluated a different type of ban (partial or full) compared with different degrees of restrictions or no restrictions during the control period. The results from the three ITS studies were inconsistent. A meta-analysis of the two studies that evaluated the implementation of a ban showed an overall mean non-significant increase in beer consumption in the general population of 1.10% following the ban (95% CI -5.26, 7.47; p value = 0.43; I2 = 83%, very-low-quality evidence). This finding is consistent with an increase, no difference, or a decrease in alcohol consumption. In the study evaluating the lifting of a total ban on all forms of alcohol advertising to a partial ban on spirits advertising only, which utilised an Abrupt Auto-regressive Integrated Moving Average model, the volume of all forms of alcohol sales decreased by 11.11 kilolitres (95% CI -27.56, 5.34; p value = 0.19) per month after the ban was lifted. In this model, beer and wine sales increased per month by 14.89 kilolitres (95% CI 0.39, 29.39; p value = 0.04) and 1.15 kilolitres (95% CI -0.91, 3.21; p value = 0.27), respectively, and spirits sales decreased statistically significantly by 22.49 kilolitres (95% CI -36.83, -8.15; p value = 0.002). Using the GRADE approach, the evidence from the ITS studies was rated as very low due to a high risk of bias arising from a lack of randomisation and imprecision in the results.No other prespecified outcomes (including economic loss or hardship due to decreased alcohol sales) were addressed in the included studies and no adverse effects were reported in any of the studies. None of the studies were funded by the alcohol or advertising industries.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of robust evidence for or against recommending the implementation of alcohol advertising restrictions. Advertising restrictions should be implemented within a high-quality, well-monitored research programme to ensure the evaluation over time of all relevant outcomes in order to build the evidence base.

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