Research & Resources

Instagram, Snapchat Linked with Increased Alcohol Use by New College Students

Previous research has suggested that exposure to alcohol-related content on social media sites (SMSs) may inflate perceptions of drinking norms, resulting in increased drinking among college students and potentially undermining popular social norms-based alcohol interventions. While prior research on exposure has used subjective measures of alcohol exposure and has focused mostly on Facebook, this study focused on Instagram, a popular SMS among college students. Participants were 309 matriculating college students who had their Instagram use tracked and newsfeeds sampled several times during the transition into college and completed a baseline survey and two follow-up surveys. Results revealed that objective alcohol-related Instagram content exposure during the transition to college was positively associated with drinking at the end of the first year of college. 
This paper, “An examination of the prospective associations between objectively assessed exposure to alcohol-related Instagram content, alcohol-specific cognitions, and first-year college drinking,” was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. 
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