Adolescents’ exposure to paid alcohol advertising on television and their alcohol use: exploring associations during a 13-year period

Victoria White, Denise Azar, Agatha Faulkner, Kerri Coomber, Sarah Durkin, Michael Livingston, Tanya Chikritzhs, Robin Room, Melanie Wakefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To determine (i) whether Australian adolescents’ exposure to television alcohol advertisements changed between 1999 and 2011 and (ii) examine the association between television alcohol advertising and adolescent drinking behaviours. Design: Cross-sectional surveys conducted every 3 years between 1999 and 2011. Analyses examined associations between advertising exposures and reported drinking. Setting: Five Australian major cities. Participants: Students aged 12–17 years participating in a triennial nationally representative school-based survey residing in the television advertising markets associated with the major cities (sample size range per survey: 12 644–16 004). Measurements: Outcome measures were: drinking in the past month, past week and past-week risky drinking (5+ drinks on a day). The key predictor variable was past-month adolescent-directed alcohol advertising Targeted Rating Points (TRPs, a measure of television advertising exposure). Control measures included student-level characteristics, government alcohol-control advertising TRPs, road safety (drink-driving) TRPs and time of survey. Findings: Average monthly adolescent alcohol TRPs increased between 1999 (mean = 2371) to 2005 (mean = 2679) (P < 0.01) then decreased between 2005 and 2011: (mean = 880) (P < 0.01). Multi-level logistic regression analyses that adjusted for survey timing, student level factors and alcohol-control advertising variables showed a significant association between past-month alcohol TRPs and past-month drinking [odds ratio (OR) = 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.07–1.15), past-week drinking (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.06–1.14) and past-week risky drinking (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.09–1.22). Past-week risky drinking was associated inversely with road safety TRPs (OR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.49–0.98). Conclusions: While Australian adolescents’ exposure to alcohol advertising on television reduced between 1999 and 2011, higher levels of past-month television alcohol advertising were associated with an increased likelihood of adolescents’ drinking. The reduction in television alcohol advertising in Australia in the late 2000s may have played a part in reducing adolescents’ drinking prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1742-1751
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • alcohol advertising
  • alcohol use
  • population-based
  • school-based surveys
  • targeted rating points
  • trends

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