Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications
Both consuming alcohol and using social networking sites (SNS) are popular pastimes among adolescents. The current cross-sectional study (N=3133) aims to explore the relation between being exposed to and displaying alcohol-related content on SNS with alcohol abuse among adolescents age 16-20. First, the results support that displaying alcohol-related content on SNS is more strongly associated with alcohol abuse than exposure to this kind of content. Furthermore, the associations of both exposure to and displaying alcohol-related content on SNS with alcohol abuse are mediated through both perceived social norms of friends and attitudes towards excessive alcohol consumption. Yet, whereas alcohol-attitudes and social norms seemed to be equally important mediators in the relation between exposure to alcohol-related content on SNS and alcohol abuse, the association between displaying alcohol-related content on SNS and alcohol abuse seemed to be mediated predominantly through a change in alcohol-related attitudes. Overall, this study sheds more light on the complex relations between SNS use and risky drinking behavior among adolescents.