Study: Alcohol ads can sway college students to manipulate others for sex

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Study: Alcohol ads can sway college students to manipulate others for sex
“Advertisements have effects beyond encouraging people to consume alcohol”

KOIN 6
By Gabby Urenda
March 21, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Researchers at Washington State University say an experimental study revealed that alcohol advertising can influence men and women to sexually coerce partners.

According to WSU, ads featuring objectified women persuaded college students — both male and female — to act this way. The study found that both young men and women who expressed strong beliefs in gender stereotypes were more likely to sexually coerce.

This connection, said researchers, was particularly strong with young men viewing alcohol ads featuring highly objectified female models.

“Alcohol advertisements have effects beyond encouraging people to consume alcohol,” said lead author Stacey Hust, professor in WSU’s Murrow College of Communication. “For women, there was this interesting connection about wishful identification and coercion without alcohol.”

The study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, tested different alcohol ads on about 1,200 college students.

One set of participants saw real advertisements featuring highly objectified women such as models wearing little or no clothing, said WSU. Another set viewed ads that were changed to lessen the objectification, such as adding a dress to a model who appeared in the original ad in a bikini.

“The participants answered questions about their perceptions of the ads, their beliefs in gender stereotypes, sex-related alcohol expectancies and their own sexual coercion intentions with or without alcohol,” according to the university’s press release on the study. “Sexual coercion covers a range of negative and illegal behaviors from lying and verbally pressuring someone to plying potential partners with alcohol to have sex.”

The press release added, “For instance, some of the questions on the study asked participants whether they would pretend to like someone just to have sex with them or if they would have sex with someone even if they felt their partner would feel used afterwards.”

The researchers found that the alcohol ads did not influence all the participants’ sexual coercion intentions.

Rather, they only had a negative influence when the participants had certain perceptions, such as belief in gender stereotypes or women’s wishful identification with the depicted models, said the university.

Researchers say that the study adds evidence to previous research linking gender stereotypes, such as seeing men as sexually aggressive and women as submissive, to sexual coercion and other sexually violent behaviors.

“Most programs that talk about sexual violence focus on consent or bystander intervention, which is good, but there’s a wealth of studies out there that also show a tie to gender stereotypical beliefs,” said Hust. “If we start prevention programs that debunk gender stereotypes when kids are young, then hopefully over time we can impact these negative behaviors.”

Starting earlier with media literacy education would help too, Hust added, noting that ads for non-alcoholic beverages often use similar appeals and strategies to those used by alcohol ads.

“We don’t have to wait until young people are of drinking age to help them be more critically aware of advertisements,” she said. “If we start in the elementary years, then it’s a natural transition for them to apply those tools to products that are more dangerous.”


“Advertisements have effects beyond encouraging people to consume alcohol”

KOIN 6
By Gabby Urenda
March 21, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Researchers at Washington State University say an experimental study revealed that alcohol advertising can influence men and women to sexually coerce partners.

According to WSU, ads featuring objectified women persuaded college students — both male and female — to act this way. The study found that both young men and women who expressed strong beliefs in gender stereotypes were more likely to sexually coerce.

This connection, said researchers, was particularly strong with young men viewing alcohol ads featuring highly objectified female models.

“Alcohol advertisements have effects beyond encouraging people to consume alcohol,” said lead author Stacey Hust, professor in WSU’s Murrow College of Communication. “For women, there was this interesting connection about wishful identification and coercion without alcohol.”

The study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, tested different alcohol ads on about 1,200 college students.

One set of participants saw real advertisements featuring highly objectified women such as models wearing little or no clothing, said WSU. Another set viewed ads that were changed to lessen the objectification, such as adding a dress to a model who appeared in the original ad in a bikini.

“The participants answered questions about their perceptions of the ads, their beliefs in gender stereotypes, sex-related alcohol expectancies and their own sexual coercion intentions with or without alcohol,” according to the university’s press release on the study. “Sexual coercion covers a range of negative and illegal behaviors from lying and verbally pressuring someone to plying potential partners with alcohol to have sex.”

The press release added, “For instance, some of the questions on the study asked participants whether they would pretend to like someone just to have sex with them or if they would have sex with someone even if they felt their partner would feel used afterwards.”

The researchers found that the alcohol ads did not influence all the participants’ sexual coercion intentions.

Rather, they only had a negative influence when the participants had certain perceptions, such as belief in gender stereotypes or women’s wishful identification with the depicted models, said the university.

Researchers say that the study adds evidence to previous research linking gender stereotypes, such as seeing men as sexually aggressive and women as submissive, to sexual coercion and other sexually violent behaviors.

“Most programs that talk about sexual violence focus on consent or bystander intervention, which is good, but there’s a wealth of studies out there that also show a tie to gender stereotypical beliefs,” said Hust. “If we start prevention programs that debunk gender stereotypes when kids are young, then hopefully over time we can impact these negative behaviors.”

Starting earlier with media literacy education would help too, Hust added, noting that ads for non-alcoholic beverages often use similar appeals and strategies to those used by alcohol ads.

“We don’t have to wait until young people are of drinking age to help them be more critically aware of advertisements,” she said. “If we start in the elementary years, then it’s a natural transition for them to apply those tools to products that are more dangerous.”