Influence of Social Media on Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Young Adults

 Influence of Social Media on Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Young Adults Influence of Social Media on Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Young Adults

Participation in online social media Web sites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) has skyrocketed in recent years and created a new environment in which adolescents and young adults may be exposed to and influenced by alcohol-related content. Thus, young people are exposed to and display pro-alcohol messages and images through online portrayals of drinking on personal pages as well as unregulated alcohol marketing on social media sites that may reach underage people. Such online displays of alcohol behavior have been correlated with offline alcohol behavior and risky drinking. Health behavior theories have been used to describe the influence of social media sites, including Social Learning Theory, the Media Practice Model, and a more recent conceptual approach called the Facebook Influence Model. Researchers are beginning to assess the potential of social media sites in identifying high-risk drinkers through online display patterns as well as delivering prevention messages and interventions. Future studies need to further expand existing observational work to better understand the role of social media in shaping alcohol-related behaviors and fully exploit the potential of these media for alcohol-related interventions . (...) Moreno and colleagues (2013b) concluded that although Facebook provides a novel lens through which to consider factors that impact behavior, its influence can best be considered in the context of robust behavioral theory. Thus, each of the four concepts or cluster groups can best be considered alongside the framework of previous supporting work as synergistic with or an expansion of previous theory. For example, the “identification” concept describes the clusters that reflect how users explore and reflect on their identity using Facebook. As mentioned earlier, the Media Practice Model posits that users choose and interact with media based on how they perceive their identity at that time or what they would like their identity to be (Brown 2000). Facebook allows users to develop an online identity through their profile, which they can then reflect on and revise as described above. As a result, young people can develop an online identity in real time, based on a vision of who they want to be as well as exposure to other media content and peer feedback. (...).(Moreno MAWhitehill JMAlcohol Res. 2014;36(1):91-100)