The Cognitive and Behavioural Impact of Alcohol Promoting and Alcohol Warning Advertisements: An Experimental Study

Brown, Kyle G. and Stautz, Kaidy and Hollands, Gareth J. and Winpenny, Eleanor M. and Marteau, Theresa M. (2015) The Cognitive and Behavioural Impact of Alcohol Promoting and Alcohol Warning Advertisements: An Experimental Study. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 51 (3). pp. 354-362. ISSN 0735-0414

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Abstract

Aims: To assess the immediate effect of alcohol promoting and alcohol warning advertisements on
implicit and explicit attitudes towards alcohol and on alcohol seeking behaviour.
Methods: We conducted a between-participants online experiment in which participants were randomly
assigned to view one of three sets of advertisements: (a) alcohol promoting, (b) alcohol warning,
or (c) unrelated to alcohol. A total of 373 participants (59.5% female) aged 18–40 (M = 28.03)
living in the UK were recruited online through a research agency. Positive and negative implicit attitudes
and explicit attitudes towards alcohol were assessed before and after advertisements were
viewed. Alcohol seeking behaviour was measured by participants’ choice of either an alcohol-related
or non-alcohol-related voucher offered ostensibly as a reward for participation. Self-reported past
week alcohol consumption was also recorded.
Results: There were no main effects on any of the outcome measures. In heavier drinkers, viewing
alcohol promoting advertisements increased positive implicit attitudes (standardized beta = 0.15,
P = 0.04) and decreased negative implicit attitudes (standardized beta = −0.17, P = 0.02). In heavier
drinkers, viewing alcohol warning advertisements decreased negative implicit attitudes (standardized
beta = −0.19, P = 0.01).
Conclusions: Viewing alcohol promoting advertisements has a cognitive impact on heavier drinkers,
increasing positive and reducing negative implicit attitudes towards alcohol. Viewing alcohol warning
advertisements reduces negative implicit attitudes towards alcohol in heavier drinkers, suggestive
of a reactance effect.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
UoA Collections > UoA 04: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Depositing User: Silvio Aldrovandi
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 13:14
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 13:14
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4662

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