A 10-lesson alcohol media literacy program was developed, underpinned by the message interpretation processing model, inoculation theory, and constructivist learning theory, and was tailored to be culturally relevant to the Australian context. This program aimed to increase students’ media deconstruction skills and reduce intent to drink alcohol. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in achieving these goals through a short-term quasi-experimental trial.
Elementary schools were assigned to either the intervention group (83 students) or a wait-list control group (82 students). Student questionnaires were administered at three time points (baseline, after the intervention group completed the program, and after the wait-list control group completed the program) to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.
The intervention and wait-list control groups reported significantly higher media deconstruction skills as a result of the intervention. Both groups reported significantly lower social norms, whereas the wait-list control group reported significantly lower positive alcohol expectancies. There were no significant changes to self-efficacy to refuse alcohol, preference for alcohol-branded merchandise, and understanding of persuasive intent as a result of the intervention.
To date, the majority of alcohol media literacy studies have been conducted in the United States and have focused on deconstructing television and print-based ads. This evaluation provides evidence that an alcohol media literacy program that was developed for a specific cultural context, and that incorporates a broad range of multimodal advertisements, can have a positive impact on beliefs and attitudes that are known predictors/precursors of drinking behaviors.