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J Stud Alcohol. 2001 Mar;62(2):221-7.

Longitudinal relationship between the alcohol warning label and alcohol consumption.

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Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-1104, USA.



The present study reports the longitudinal relationship between alcohol warning label exposure and alcohol consumption among adolescents.


In-school surveys assessed adolescents at three annual time points beginning in tenth grade. There were 649 participants measured at all three time points; 51% were female. Four effects were the focus of the covariance structure, latent growth analysis of these data: (1) an exposure effect, whereby earlier alcohol use leads to more exposure to the warning label; (2) a deterrent effect, whereby earlier alcohol warning label exposure reduces subsequent alcohol consumption; (3) a harmful effect, corresponding to a positive relationship between early exposure and subsequent consumption; and (4) both exposure and deterrent effects operating at the same time.


There was a statistically significant exposure effect such that earlier alcohol use was associated with later exposure to the warning. The association between earlier alcohol warning label exposure and subsequent alcohol use was generally negative but not statistically significant, suggesting that the warning did not affect alcohol consumption.


These results suggest that the alcohol warning label is having the intended effect as described in the law requiring the warning. That is, it is informing and reminding persons of the risks associated with alcohol use. The warning does not appear to significantly increase or decrease alcohol consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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