Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey

Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey

Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey

Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey

Synopsis

An advertising executive and sociologist who has studied alcoholism at length analyzes worldwide theoretical and empirical studies on the relationship between mass media and advertising and alcohol consumption and abuse. Dr. Fisher pulls together findings from content analyses, experiments, quasi-experiments, econometric studies, and evaluations of advertising restrictions and warning labels to determine how advertising works and affects human behavior.

Excerpt

Implicit in the research reviewed in this book is a set of assumptions or beliefs about how advertising affects behavior. That is, whether stated and tested explicitly or assumed and tested in parts, researchers operate with respect to expectations about how advertising works. Research is designed, therefore, and results are interpreted in relation to this framework of understanding. In this chapter, the effects paradigm will be outlined, and the theories that are invoked to legitimize it will be summarized.

In their review of the literature on alcohol and mass media, Dorn and South (1983) identify four theoretical models explaining the relation between media and its audience. They also note that the questions asked, those suppressed, the types of research findings, and recommendations will depend on which of these models is chosen. One of these, the effects model, suggests that mass media influences the frequency of specific aspects of behavior, and the application of the model to alcohol research suggests that media effects on drinking practices are "posed in terms of the consequences that might follow exposure to particular messages about images of alcohol in the media" (p. 12). Although Dorn and South do not take this view, the tendency of researchers to slip into this mode of explanation is noted.

This review of the literature suggests that, indeed, the effects model is held by the majority of researchers who have studied mass media and advertising and their relationship to alcohol use and abuse. As a consequence, it is the model used to organize the discussion of the theories that inform much of this research. Empirical evidence of the effects . . .

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