Experimental Test of Facebook Social Drinking Norms on Adolescent Alcohol Use

Project Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed research will be the first study to focus on experimentally manipulating both injunctive and descriptive norms on Facebook in order to elucidate the relationship between alcohol and abstainer displays on Facebook and subsequent alcohol cognitions, use, and related negative consequences. Based on literature focusing on developmentally appropriate health models for adolescents, the Prototype Willingness Model (PWM) assumes that health-risk behaviors occur either when individuals have developed intentions to engage in a risk behavior (and these intentions vary as a function of attitudes and perceived injunctive norms) or through willingness to engage in risks (which varies as a function of perceived vulnerability to negative consequences, perceived descriptive norms, and prototypes). To fully understand the relationships between alcohol abstaining displays on Facebook, we will examine 1) the role of descriptive and injunctive abstainer and user norms, when experimentally manipulated with Facebook profiles, on willingness and intentions, subsequent alcohol use and related negative consequences among adolescents (age 15-20) 2) whether intentions and willingness mediate the relation between our experimental manipulation and subsequent alcohol use and negative consequences and whether 3) individual differences in social influence moderate the effect of the experimental manipulation on intentions, willingness, alcohol use, and negative consequences. We will test these aims by recruiting a community sample of adolescents (N = 300), living in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Participants will complete a web-based baseline assessment and participate in an in-person experimental manipulation in which they are either assigned to see same-sex Facebook profiles of alcohol abstainers, abstainers +users, or a control condition where neither user or abstainer information will be provided. Immediately after the manipulation, participants will answers a series of questions about the profiles they just viewed and their alcohol-related cognitions. Participants will also complete a one-month in person follow up assessment to test for impacts on intentions, willingness, alcohol use, and related negative consequences. Additionally, individual differences in social influence will be examined as possible moderators of the relationship between SNS-portrayed norms and our primary outcomes. The proposed study is both significant and innovative in that it uses a theoretical perspective to experimentally test th impact of alcohol content, in particular abstainer norms, on Facebook on adolescent alcohol use and related cognitions. The results have the potential to inform preventative interventions while addressing NIH priorities.
Effective start/end date1/08/1631/07/19


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