How Do Industry-Funded Alcohol and Gambling Conferences Frame the Issues? An Analysis of Conference Agendas
There is a growing evidence base that unhealthy commodity industries (including alcohol and gambling) promote industry favourable framings of product harms and solutions. These framings adopt a focus on the individual while overlooking broader influences and solutions. One potential method to influence the framing of harms and solutions is funding and organising conferences. This study aims to examine how industry-funded alcohol and gambling conferences present themselves and frame product harms and solutions.
This study conducted a descriptive examination and framing analysis of industry-funded alcohol and gambling conference descriptions and agendas or programs to examine how conferences were presented and how the included topics framed the issues of product harm and solutions. A hybrid approach (using both deductive and inductive coding) was used for framing analysis, informed by previous research.
All the included conferences were targeted at professionals outside of the respective industry, many specifically mentioning researchers or policymakers. Several of the conferences offered professional credits for attendance.
This study identified four keyframes that are consistent with the existing evidence base:
- a complex link between product consumption and harm,
- focus on the individual,
- deflection from population-level approaches, and
- medicalization/specialization of solutions.
This study found industry-favorable framings of harms and solutions within the alcohol and gambling conferences included in our sample. These conferences are aimed at professionals outside of the industry, including researchers and policymakers, with several offering professional credits for attendance. Greater awareness of the potential for industry-favorable framings in conference settings is required.