“Our research found that students who owned an alcohol-branded item were significantly more likely to have initiated alcohol use than students who did not own one,” said Dr. Auden McClure, clinical instructor in paediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and lead author of the study.
Over 2,000 Northern New England middle school students, ages 10-14, took part in the study in 1999 and were surveyed to determine if they drank alcohol. From that group, students who said they had not used alcohol were followed up one to two years later with a phone interview that asked about their drinking, that of their peers, and whether they owned alcohol-branded merchandise. At follow up, 15% of baseline never drinkers had started using alcohol and 14% owned an item with an alcohol brand or logo on it. Rate of drinking among those who owned a branded item was 25.5%, compared to 13.1% of those who did not own a branded item. The study concluded that even after controlling for other risk factors for drinking, students who owned alcohol-branded merchandise were 1.5 times more likely to initiate drinking than students who did not.
“This study raises concern about the relationship between the products that promote alcohol brands and early-onset teen drinking,” said McClure. “We worry about early-onset drinking because these kids are more likely to go on to misuse alcohol when they reach high school,” added Dr. James Sargent, professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and senior author on the study.
McClure notes that the results of this study are limited by the fact that the adolescents were from one region of the country, that several other risk factors such as parent drinking and access to alcohol were not examined.
MEDICA.de; Source: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center