Friday, February 8, 2013

NIH Alcohol Marketing and Youth Drinking (R01) Grant


NIH Alcohol Marketing and Youth Drinking (R01) Grant - PA-11-015
Reports suggest that exposure to alcohol marketing on websites, through online videos and social networking sites, in video games and via mobile phone applications, is increasing (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006), yet very little is known about the impact of these marketing strategies on alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors in young people.
The nature of the relationship between exposure to alcohol marketing, including traditional and Internet-based advertisements and promotions, and youth alcohol consumption remains unclear. While the existing research suggests that exposure to alcohol advertising might be associated with the initiation of alcohol consumption and the frequency/amount of alcohol consumed, direct evidence of a link between exposure to marketing and alcohol consumption among youth is generally lacking. In one of the few studies to assess whether exposure to alcohol in commercials and movies is directly related to actual drinking behavior, researchers in the Netherlands (Engels et al., 2009) divided 40 male college students (aged 18-29) into groups and exposed them to various combinations of movie clips and commercials involving high levels of alcohol or low levels of alcohol. Subjects were then allowed to self administer alcohol. Subjects shown movie clips depicting high levels of drinking and commercial advertisements for alcohol drank more alcohol than other participants. While intriguing, more research is needed to investigate the relationship between exposure to alcohol marketing and youth drinking and to examine factors that might mediate (explain) and moderate (influence the strength of) the relationship between exposure to various forms alcohol marketing and youth drinking.
Of particular interest are the following questions:

  1. Is there a direct causal relationship between exposure to various forms of alcohol marketing and alcohol-related attitudes/behaviors among youth?
  2. What social and psychological processes or mechanisms might underlie the effects of alcohol advertising and other promotions on youth drinking (e.g., extensive exposure, repetition of ads, discussion of advertisements among peers, etc.)?
  3. What variables appear to mediate or moderate these effects (e.g., alcohol expectancies, family history, peer influence)? For instance, do advertisements and promotions have different effects among persons who have already initiated drinking relative to those who have not yet begun to drink, or on those who drink and reach criteria for abuse or dependence relative to those who do not meet such criteria?
  4. How do alcohol advertisements influence brain activity, what mediates the responses, and how do such changes in brain function relate to the impact of alcohol advertisements on drinking?
  5. Do baseline differences in existing brain and psychological functioning influence the impact of alcohol advertisements and other promotions on attitudes and beliefs regarding alcohol and alcohol consumption?
  6. Are there differences in the influence of specific forms of alcohol advertisements and promotions (e.g., traditional versus Internet-based) on brain and psychological functioning and, if so, how might these differences influence the impact of advertising on youth drinking?


Studies examining simple correlations between exposure to alcohol advertisements and other promotions and rates of drinking are of less interest than those examining cause and effect relationships and exploring the specific mechanisms by which advertisements and promotions might affect drinking and related outcomes.

Deadlines: June 5, 2013 and October 5, 2013

Award limit: no cap

Read entire solicitation here.

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