Research Article: Effectiveness of Mass Media Campaigns to Reduce Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Systematic Review

Date Published: May 10, 2018

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Author(s): Ben Young, Sarah Lewis, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Linda Bauld, Martine Stead, Kathryn Angus, Mhairi Campbell, Shona Hilton, James Thomas, Kate Hinds, Adela Ashie, Tessa Langley.


There is little evidence that mass media campaigns have reduced alcohol consumption although most did not state that they aimed to do so. Studies show recall of campaigns is high and that they can have an impact on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about alcohol consumption.

Partial Text

Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for adverse health, accounting for 2.3 million global deaths annually and representing the ninth greatest risk factor for disability-adjusted life-years (GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators, 2016). In most countries, the trend in alcohol consumption is either increasing or stable (WHO, 2014), indicating a need for effective population-level strategies to reduce consumption and prevent related harms. Price increases and restrictions on the availability of alcohol can reduce alcohol-related harm (Anderson et al., 2009; Martineau et al., 2013; Allamani et al., 2017).

The review protocol was submitted to the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) ref. CRD42017054999. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) were followed.

The evidence suggests mass media health campaigns about alcohol can be recalled by individuals and can achieve changes in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about alcohol, based mainly on weak quality studies. Findings of studies that measured alcohol consumption suggest campaigns have not reduced consumption, although most did not state that they directly aim to do so.

Mass media health campaigns about alcohol are often recalled by individuals, have achieved changes in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about alcohol but there is little evidence of impact on alcohol consumption. Such interventions may have a longer term role as part of a comprehensive harm reduction strategy, by improving knowledge in areas where it is low, potentially contributing to changing harmful drinking norms and helping to set the agenda for alcohol policy change.




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