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Anti-drink ads warning

10th December 2007

A study by the University of Bath has put forward the opinion that anti-drinking advertisements may be "inadvertently glamorising" alcohol.

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Researchers said that the advertisements' focus on people acting foolishly while intoxicated could be viewed as humorous or aspirational by young people.

The study was funded by the Economic & Social Research Council. It interviewed 94 young people in the country over the course of three years.

The researchers cautioned that young groups of friends could interpret the behaviour shown in the adverts as a way of deepening friendships and cementing "membership of a peer group".

The research team said that adverts showing intoxicated behaviour - for example being ejected from a club or lying unconscious - were interpreted by young people as acceptable behaviour on a good night out.

Lead researcher Professor Christine Griffin said: "Extreme inebriation is often seen as a source of personal esteem and social affirmation amongst young people."

She said that drinking to excess and the antics that resulted "were key markers of young peoples' social identity".

Professor Chris Hackley, from Royal Holloway, University of London, also took part in the research.

He said that drinking was often seen by groups of friends as something which could bond them together and was associated with positive experiences. He warned that the current television anti-drinking campaigns could be "catastrophically misconceived".

Professor Hackley stated that the results of the research suggested that the government should radically rethink their policy on alcohol and how they should tackle the subject in the future.

 


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