Mesman, M., Hendriks, H., & van den Putte, B. (2020). How viewing alcohol posts of friends on social networking sites influences predictors of alcohol use. Journal of Health Communication, 25(6), 522-529.


Young adults are frequently exposed to alcohol posts from their friends on social networking sites, and little research has investigated the influences of these posts on alcohol use. Therefore, this study investigated how exposure to alcohol posts influenced determinants of alcohol use, and whether alcohol posts of close friends influenced these determinants more strongly compared to alcohol posts of distant friends. Students from Dutch universities (N = 210) participated in an experiment with a 2 (post condition: alcohol or neutral) x 2 (friend condition: close or distant) between-subjects design. Participants that were exposed to alcohol posts reported higher intention to use alcohol, F(1, 204) = 4.32, p =.039, willingness to use alcohol, F(1, 204) = 8.15, p =.005, and more positive affective attitudes about alcohol, F(1, 204) = 5.84, p =.017, than participants that were exposed to neutral posts. Additionally, participants who viewed alcohol posts of close friends reported more positive affective attitudes about alcohol compared to participants who viewed alcohol posts of distant friends, F(1, 204) = 5.15, p =.024. Developers of health interventions could use these findings to raise awareness about the unhealthy influences of alcohol posts on determinants of young adults’ alcohol use.

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