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BMJ Open. 2013 Jan 24;3(1). pii: e002423. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002423.

A clustered randomised trial examining the effect of social marketing and community mobilisation on the age of uptake and levels of alcohol consumption by Australian adolescents.

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Department of Prevention Sciences, Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research and School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.



Throughout the world, alcohol consumption is common among adolescents. Adolescent alcohol use and misuse have prognostic significance for several adverse long-term outcomes, including alcohol problems, alcohol dependence, school disengagement and illicit drug use. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether randomisation to a community mobilisation and social marketing intervention reduces the proportion of adolescents who initiate alcohol use before the Australian legal age of 18, and the frequency and amount of underage adolescent alcohol consumption.


The study comprises 14 communities matched with 14 non-contiguous communities on socioeconomic status (SES), location and size. One of each pair was randomly allocated to the intervention. Baseline levels of adolescent alcohol use were estimated through school surveys initiated in 2006 (N=8500). Community mobilisation and social marketing interventions were initiated in 2011 to reduce underage alcohol supply and demand. The setting is communities in three Australian states (Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia). Students (N=2576) will complete school surveys in year 8 in 2013 (average age 12).


(1) lifetime initiation and (2) monthly frequency of alcohol use. Reports of social marketing and family and community alcohol supply sources will also be assessed. Point estimates with 95% CIs will be compared for student alcohol use in intervention and control communities. Changes from 2006 to 2013 will be examined; multilevel modelling will assess whether random assignment of communities to the intervention reduced 2013 alcohol use, after accounting for community level differences. Analyses will also assess whether exposure to social marketing activities increased the intervention target of reducing alcohol supply by parents and community members.



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