OBJECTIVES: The relationships between television beer advertising and drinking knowledge, beliefs, and intentions were investigated in a survey of schoolchildren. The research was guided by a theoretical model specifying that awareness of advertising, and not mere exposure, is necessary for it to have an effect on beliefs or behaviors. METHODS: Participants were a random sample of 468 fifth- and sixth-grade schoolchildren from a northern California community. Data were collected in the home with a combination of self-administered questionnaires and structured interviews. RESULTS: Nonrecursive statistical modeling indicated that awareness of television beer advertising was related to more favorable beliefs about drinking, to greater knowledge of beer brands and slogans, and to increased intentions to drink as an adult. The effects of advertising awareness on knowledge, beliefs, and intentions were maintained when the reciprocal effects of beliefs, knowledge, and intentions on awareness were controlled. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that alcohol advertising may predispose young people to drinking. As a result, efforts to prevent drinking and drinking problems among young people should give attention to countering the potential effects of alcohol advertising.
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