Under the influence of (alcohol) influencers? A qualitative study examining Belgian adolescents’ evaluations of alcohol-related Instagram images from influencers

Autor(en)
Sofie Vranken, Kathleen Beullens, Delphine Geyskens, Jörg Matthes
Abstrakt

Influencers are important socialization agents among adolescents. There are rising concerns that influencers glamorize their alcohol behaviors and promote brands on Instagram. While exposure to alcohol messages influences adolescents’ alcohol use, it remains unclear how adolescents evaluate influencers’ alcohol images. We conducted 10 focus group interviews with 47 adolescents (Mage = 16.21; SD = 1.22). Our results demonstrated that adolescents frequently encounter images of influencers who hold alcoholic beverages, provide positive reviews for brands, or promote their own beverages. Additionally, building on the Message Interpretation Process model, we examined how individuals affectively (i.e. message desirability) and cognitively (i.e. realism, similarity) evaluate these alcohol images. Our results suggest that adolescents enjoy viewing images of influencers who depicted positive alcohol-related outcomes, highlighted their luxurious lifestyles, and were transparent about their partnership with alcohol brands. Only upon explicitly encouraging them to think aloud about the realism of and similarity to these images; and through discussions with their friends, they became more skeptical and perceived influencers’ images to be inauthentic. Where these critical evaluations took place, the persuasive effects seemed to diminish. Overall, our findings suggest that peer-led discussions and think-aloud procedures may be promising tools for media literacy interventions.

Organisation(en)
Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Journal
Journal of Children and Media
Anzahl der Seiten
20
ISSN
1748-2798
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2022.2157457
Publikationsdatum
12-2022
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
508007 Kommunikationswissenschaft
Schlagwörter
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Cultural Studies, Communication
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/under-the-influence-of-alcohol-influencers-a-qualitative-study-examining-belgian-adolescents-evaluations-of-alcoholrelated-instagram-images-from-influencers(bb273f12-1d93-4e0f-9c04-539d304128ab).html