The impact of media-related cognitions on children’s substance use outcomes in the context of parental and peer substance use
Scull, T. M., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Erausquin, J. T. (2013). The impact of media-related cognitions on children’s substance use outcomes in the context of parental and peer substance use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(5), 717-728. doi:10.1007/s10964-013-0012-8
Objectives: Investigate the impact of media-related cognitions on children’s alcohol and tobacco outcomes in the context of parental and peer substance use.
Methods: Six hundred forty-nine elementary school children (M = 9.4 years of age, SD = 1.1 years; 51 % female) completed self-report questionnaires.
Results: Children’s perceptions of the desirability and realism of alcohol and tobacco ads—and their similarity to and identification with these ads—predicted greater intentions to use. Desirability and identification with alcohol and tobacco ads were associated with stronger preferences for alcohol-branded merchandise, and understanding advertising’s persuasive intent predicted weaker preferences. Media deconstruction skills predicted stronger beliefs that underage alcohol and tobacco use is wrong. Peer and parental substance use were associated with stronger substance-use intentions among children and weaker feelings that substance use is wrong.
Conclusions: Given the role of the media in socializing children’s substance use, early and sustained media literacy education is clearly warranted as an integral part of substance abuse prevention efforts in childhood and adolescence.