Young teens appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages in television alcohol ads, a new study suggests. The ads influence some young teens to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence, the researchers found.
The study found beer and liquor ads can promote drinking as early as seventh grade, HealthDay reports. The more exposure to ads the teens had, and the more they enjoyed watching them, the more alcohol they drank by 10th grade. Early drinking is associated with alcohol-related problems such as fighting or academic decline by 10th grade, the researchers note.
“This study provides evidence that exposure to alcohol advertising in seventh grade and liking those alcohol advertisements on television is associated with higher levels of drinking in the eighth and ninth grades,” lead researcher Jerry Grenard of Claremont Graduate University in California told HealthDay. “Parents and schools should teach children about the design of persuasive messages in the media to help them avoid undue influence by the media on their behaviors.”
The study included almost 4,000 seventh graders, who were asked about their alcohol use, and exposure to liquor advertising. The researchers followed the students through 10th grade.
The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics.