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Owning alcohol-branded merchandise associated with teen drinking behaviors
Date:3/3/2009

LEBANON, N.H. -- A Dartmouth-led study of young U.S. teens showed that between 11 and 20 percent own T-shirts or other items featuring an alcohol brand, and those who do appear more likely to transition through the stages of drinking from susceptibility, to beginning drinking, to binge drinking, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Alcohol-branded merchandise includes T-shirts, hats or other items that feature a particular brand of beverage, according to background information in the article. Increasing evidence suggests that this specialized type of marketing effectively reaches teenagers and is associated with alcohol use.

Auden C. McClure, M.D., M.P.H., of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of 6,522 U.S. adolescents ages 10 to 14 years in 2003 during which teens reported information about their drinking behaviors and drinking attitudes. In three follow-up surveys conducted at eight-month intervals, participants answered questions about changes in drinking habits and ownership of alcohol-branded merchandise.

The most commonly owned products were clothing (64 percent) and headwear (24 percent). Seventy-five percent of items displayed beer labels, including 45 percent that featured Budweiser. Most were obtained through family and friends but some 24 percent of them were purchased directly by teens.

Among teens that had never drunk alcohol, owning alcohol-branded merchandise and positive attitudes toward drinking were both related, with each predicting the other during an eight-month follow up period. In addition, both predicted the initiation of alcohol use and binge drinking, even after controlling for other risk factors, like whether friends and parents drank alcohol, or whether alcohol was available in the home.

"Alcohol-branded merchandise is widely distribut
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Contact: Jason Aldous
jason.aldous@hitchcock.org
603-653-1913
Dartmouth Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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