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Monday, December 29, 2008

Branded Consumption and Social Identification: Young People and Alcohol

In most British towns and cities, young people drinking alcohol is now a central part of the night-time economy. For young people themselves, drinking to excess has become a normal part of a ‘good night out’ for many, and they are the target of extensive advertising and marketing campaigns by drinks manufacturers. All this has led to concern about risks to young people’s health and social problems related to their drinking.

This study (the Young People and Alcohol project) aimed to present a systematic and in-depth examination of young people’s own accounts of alcohol consumption and the part it plays in their lives. Interviews, focus groups and study visits to drinking venues were carried out in three different UK locations. The researchers analysed the results to assess the views of young people aged 18–25 on alcohol. The researchers also analysed a selected sample of 216 alcohol adverts aimed at young people to assess the influence of advertising and marketing. Finally, the project considered the implications for future policy and practice

Key Findings
  • Drinking alcohol is socially important in young people’s lives

  • Practices differ across gender, and less so across class, ethnicity and place

  • Advertising reflects the idea of drinking as ‘fun’

  • Overall, government policy needs to change to reflect how young people use alcohol

  • Future applications and research

Read Full Summary (PDF)

Read Full Final Research Report (PDF)