Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Julie Volkman

Second Faculty Advisor

Stephanie Carter


alcohol-advertising effects; college students' drinking; depression; social norms


Bryant University

Rights Management



College students have been exposed to alcohol-related advertisements for several decades now and research has proven that this exposure has an influence on today’s population’s knowledge, attitudes, and intentions to drink (Saffer, 2002). The college student population has been shown to participate in excessive drinking leading to other potential risks and harms, such as increased rates of depression (Furr et al., 2001; Hingson, 2009). Furthermore, students who experience depressive symptoms may experience elevated risks for alcohol-related problems (Joiner et al., 1992). The goal of this paper is to examine different persuasion techniques that alcohol companies currently expose to college students to analyze the effects the techniques have on the viewers. An online pre-test/post-test study experiment was distributed which included the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), Beck Depression Inventory, and a series of social norm related questions with four alcohol-related advertisements as the treatment group. Participants (N = 133) were recruited that ranged between ages 18 and 49 (n = 66 responses; M = 21.31; SD = 3.75). These participants were recruited through a variety of sampling methods, such as convenience and snowball sampling. The data was analyzed with both qualitative and quantitative examination. The quantitative results supported previous research showing the connection between alcohol related advertisements and college students’ intention to drink. However, there was no significant connection between the exposure to alcohol-related advertisements and the rates of depression among this population. Through qualitative analysis, a connection is seen between the perceptions of social norms and alcohol-related behaviors. This study provides a good foundation for future research into how to advertise alcohol-related advertisements to improve college students’ behaviors and attitudes towards alcohol.

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