Social Norms Regarding Alcohol Use, Perceptions of Alcohol Advertisement and Intent to Drink Alcohol Among Youth in Uganda
The objective of this paper is to address the scarcity of research on alcohol marketing exposure and underage alcohol use in sub-Saharan Africa. This study examines perceptions of alcohol advertisements and perceived peer, adult, and parental attitudes regarding alcohol use and intentions to use alcohol among vulnerable youth.
The Kampala Youth Survey is a cross-sectional study conducted in 2014 with service-seeking youth (ages 12–18 years) living in the slums of Kampala (n = 1,134) who were participating in Uganda Youth Development Link drop-in centers. Survey measures assessed perceptions of alcohol ads, social norms regarding alcohol use, and intentions to use alcohol. Chi-square tests and structural equation modeling analyses were computed.
Among participants, 32% reported intentions to use alcohol. In fully adjusted multivariable models, current alcohol use status (AdjOR = 5.13; 95%CI:3.93, 6.72) and perceived attractive alcohol ads (AdjOR = 3.71; 95%CI:2.88, 4.78) were most strongly associated with the intention to use alcohol.
Analyses examining social norms as a moderator between perceptions of alcohol ads and intention to use alcohol found that peer networks that disapproved of alcohol use were protective against the intent to use alcohol. Perceived alcohol advertisement effectiveness and peer networks supportive of alcohol use were associated with intentions to use alcohol among both boys and girls in Kampala and were not buffered by parental disapproval of alcohol use.
Reducing exposure to alcohol marketing and developing prevention programs that strengthen peer networks disapproving of underage alcohol use and reducing exposure to alcohol marketing may be promising strategies for these vulnerable youth.