Journal Article

Age differences in alcohol prototype perceptions and willingness to drink in UK adolescents


Using the Prototype Willingness Model (PWM) as a framework, this study sought to explore the relationship between prototype perceptions, willingness and alcohol consumption in a sample of adolescents in the United Kingdom. Adolescents aged 11-17 were asked about their alcohol prototype perceptions, willingness to drink, intentions, alcohol consumption, drunkenness and harms using a cross sectional online survey. Participants were recruited through opportunity sampling via schools and parents. The survey was completed by 178 respondents (51% female; 91 aged 11-15, 87 aged 16-17). Multivariate analysis revealed significant differences between participants aged 11-15 and 16-17 on PWM measures, even when experience with drinking was accounted for (p<.001). There were significant interactions (p<.001) between age and prototype perceptions; younger participants rated non-drinker prototypes as more favourable and more similar to the self than 16-17 year old participants. Willingness and intentions interacted with age; both measures were similar in 16-17 year olds, whereas younger participants scored significantly higher on willingness than intentions (p<.001). Three distinct scales of prototype descriptions were identified in principal components analysis. Characteristics related to sociability significantly predicted willingness to drink alcohol in the sample (p<.001). This study extends previous research by demonstrating that the PWM can provide a theoretical explanation of adolescent drinking in the UK. The results suggest that 11-15 year olds may the most suitable age group for an intervention that targets alcohol prototypes, with a focus on characteristics related to sociability.

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Davies, E
Martin, J
Foxcroft, D

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health


Year of publication: 2015
Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-07-06

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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