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Abstract

Data from a longitudinal study carried out in Dunedin, New Zealand, were used to investigate associations between alcohol consumption at age 18 years and alcohol-related mass media communications recalled at ages 13 and 15 years. The respondents’ recall of alcohol-related mass media material were categorized as: commercial alcohol advertising, alcohol moderation messages or the portrayal of alcohol in entertainment. An additional media variable was the number of hours spent watching television. Non-media variables, such as peer approval of drinking, living situation and occupation (all at age 18 years) were also included in the analyses. The period between the interviews at ages 13 and 15 years saw an increase in the broadcast of commercial alcohol advertisements on television in New Zealand and this was reflected in an increase in the proportion of the mass media material recalled which was categorized as commercial advertising. At age 15 years television advertising, mostly for beer companies, was the predominant material recalled. No relationships were found between the commercial advertising and wine and spirits consumption, among either men or women, but young women who had watched more hours of television drank more wine/spirits. Among women there were two unexpected negative relationships between recall of alcohol in the media at age 13 years and beer consumption. However, among men there was a consistent positive relationship such that those who had recalled more alcohol advertisements at age 15 years drank larger quantities of beer at age 18 years.