Timing is Everything: New Study Ties Timing of Texts to Youth Alcohol Consumption
May 22, 2023 • News
Dr. Dana Litt and Project PATH research team, using data from a R01 grant funded by NIAAA and led by Dr. Melissa Lewis, have found that adolescents and young adults are more willing to share alcohol-related content via text messages than on social media and that certain patterns of text-messaging behavior are more associated with drinking than others. Notably, this is the first study to examine both the associations between timing and frequency of text message communication and self-reported alcohol use.
Results showed that participants who sent and received more alcohol-related text messages before and during drinking reported greater levels of alcohol consumption compared to those who did so less frequently during those specific windows of time. Interestingly, texting after drinking did not have a significant association with alcohol use. This suggests that texting behavior before and during drinking occasions may be an important indicator of increased risk for heavy alcohol use. Understanding the frequency and timing of alcohol-related text messaging among adolescents and young adults may provide insights into alcohol consumption patterns and warrants further research. Specifically, the study highlights the need for continued research to better understand the associations between text messaging and other forms of communication and alcohol use and related outcomes. The findings from this study have important implications for public health, particularly in terms of developing interventions and strategies to reduce risky alcohol use among adolescents and young adults.
In addition, the fact that a large percentage of participants reported being willing to send alcohol-related text messages that they would not share on social media, which has more commonly been examined as an important digital media associated with alcohol use, underscores the need for targeted interventions that focus on a broad range of digital communication, including text messaging platforms. By understanding the frequency and timing of alcohol-related text messaging, public health officials and healthcare providers can better tailor prevention and intervention efforts to meet the needs of this population. These findings also highlight the potential for targeted digital interventions, such as personalized messaging campaigns, social media messaging, and other forms of digital communication, to encourage safer drinking practices among this population.
Overall, this study provides important new insights into the role of text messaging in alcohol-related behaviors and highlights the potential for targeted digital interventions to reduce risky alcohol use and its negative consequences among adolescents and young adults.