Research & Resources

Frequency and Timing of Sent and Received Alcohol-Related Text Messages: Associations with Alcohol Use and Related Consequences Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Research supports the notion that adolescents and young adults communicate about alcohol via text message and that this form of communication is associated with alcohol use. However, little is known about how text messaging compares to social media content sharing or about the timing of sending and receiving alcohol-related text messages and associations with alcohol-related outcomes. The present study had two aims: 1) documenting whether adolescents and young adults are willing to share alcohol content via text message that they are not willing to share via social media; and 2) determining associations between frequency and timing of alcohol-related text messages (both sent and received) with self-reported alcohol use and consequences. A total of 409 participants completed a baseline survey as part of a larger study. While 85% of participants reported that they were willing to send text messages referencing alcohol use that they would not share on social media, 90% reported that their friends would be willing to do so. Results indicated that sending and receiving more alcohol-related text messages per week and sending and receiving text messages before and during drinking were positively associated with typical drinks per week. Neither frequency of sending and receiving text messages nor timing (before, during, or after drinking) was associated with negative consequences. Results suggest that frequency and timing of alcohol-related text messaging may provide insights into alcohol consumption patterns among adolescents and young adults, thus warranting future research.

This paper, “Frequency and timing of sent and received alcohol-related text messages: Associations with alcohol use and related consequences among adolescents and young adults,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Substance use & misuse.

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