Have you ever watched an anti-drinking ad and thought, 'that looks good?' You wouldn't be the first to have this reaction, according to a new study.
Have you ever watched an anti-drinking ad and thought, 'that looks good?' You wouldn't be the first to have this reaction, according to a new study. The public service announcements, designed to instill fear and guilt in the young and thus discourage them from binge-drinking, a rising problem among teens in the U.S., don't have the desired effect.
The French, meanwhile, are trying a slightly different approach to curb underage drinking: wine-tasting. A government-commission report said that adult-supervised wine tastings at lunch would teach teens the advantages of drinking in moderation. The proposal turned out to be too much, even for the French. French minister Valerie Pecresse said no to giving students wine at lunch time.
The French may not be entirely off-kilter, however. The techniques employed by anti-drinking ads actually encourage binge-drinking among college students, according to the new study. While people who design the ads operate on the belief that instilling fear, guilt and shame about a particular behavior will prevent a teen from engaging in that behavior, the approach can cause the opposite reaction in teens, what researchers call “defensive processing.”
The study was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management who surveyed 1,200 undergraduates. Researchers asked students to reflect on a moment of shame from their own lives then watch ads from a Canadian anti-drinking campaign. One ad showed an individual at a toilet bowl after drinking too much and another ad focused on the effect binge-drinking has on an individual's loved ones. After participants watched the ads, the researchers asked them how likely they were to binge-drink in the coming year. Students who felt more guilty were more likely to drink than their less guilty counterparts.