Home > Internet influences on adolescent attitudes to alcohol.

Hartigan, Alex and Coe, Natalie (2012) Internet influences on adolescent attitudes to alcohol. London: Alcohol research UK.

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The current study had the broad aim of examining the alcohol content encountered online by young people, evaluating young people's responses to that content and assessing whether relationships exist between consumption, implicit attitude and online alcohol exposure. This was achieved by focusing on three objectives through three studies.

Study 1 used thematic analysis of semi-­structured interviews to examine young people's response to actual online screenshots encountered during internet-­use. Study 2 was a content analysis of the actual Internet use of 91 participants, examined for instances of alcohol and non-­alcohol, coded by website type, activity, source, prominence and valence. Study 3 examined relationships between drinking behaviour, implicit attitude (assessed through the Implicit Association Test) the alcohol content encountered by participants' in Study 2. Alcohol content online mainly manifested as passive references from sources outside participants' peer network and was generally of positive valence relative to non-­alcohol.

Associations were found between alcohol exposure and consumption as well as between implicit attitudes and consumption. Thematic analysis revealed the high level of discrepant speculative assumptions made when interpreting online media, with general trends towards a focus on the aesthetics of the setting and the appearance of people in the screenshot. Results were discussed with implications for future research and policy.

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