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December 1994

The Impact of Anti-Drug Advertising: Perceptions of Middle and High School Students

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(12):1262-1268. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170120024004

Objectives:  To examine the perceived impact of anti-drug advertising on the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior pertaining to youth drug use and to evaluate the influence of demographic characteristics, media exposure, and substance use on the likelihood of perceiving a deterrent effect of anti-drug advertisements.

Design:  Anonymous, self-administered survey.

Setting:  Urban and suburban public schools.

Participants:  Eight hundred thirty-seven students in middle and high school (52% suburban, 50% male, 48% white) were studied in group convenience samples.

Outcome Measures:  Self-report of the impact of anti-drug advertising on knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior pertaining to drug use.

Results:  Overall, 83% (95% confidence interval [CI], 80% to 86%) of the student sample was exposed to anti-drug advertising. A majority of these students reported a positive impact of anti-drug advertisements: 92% (95% CI, 89% to 95%) perceived an increase in their knowledge of drugs; 60% (95% CI, 56% to 64%) felt they gained stronger beliefs about the dangers of drugs; 52% (95% CI, 48% to 56%) felt they developed more negative attitudes toward drug users; and 75% (95% CI, 72% to 78%) reported that they had decreased, stopped, or been convinced never to initiate drug use. Multivariate analysis revealed that the non—Sdrug-using, urban, and younger students were most likely to perceive a deterrent impact on behavior.

Conclusion:  Anti-drug advertising was perceived to have a deterrent effect on self-reported substance use among this population of adolescents.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:1262-1268)

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