Advertising Susceptibility and Youth Preference for and Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Findings from a National Survey



      This study investigated variables that may mediate the relationship between advertising susceptibility and adolescent preference for and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), with the goal of informing inoculation-based mitigation approaches grounded in media literacy and messaging resistance.


      The study utilized data from a nationally representative sample of US adolescents (ages 12–17 years, n = 1,657) from the National Cancer Institute's Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating survey.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Variables of interest were SSB preference and consumption, advertising susceptibility, perceived self-efficacy to make good nutritional choices, perceived SSB consumption by peers, and attitude toward SSBs. Exposure to obesogenic environments was examined as a moderator.


      Direct and mediated associations between advertising susceptibility and SSB preference were estimated through a series of regression and mediation analyses.


      Advertising susceptibility was a strong predictor of SSB preference (unstandardized B = .29, SE = .026, P < .001), which, in turn, was a strong predictor of consumption (unstandardized B = .10, SE = .01, P < .001), controlling for potential mediators. The only statistically significant mediator of this association was perceived peer consumption (unstandardized B = .38, SE = .08, P < .001), which was stronger for adolescents with higher exposure to obesogenic environments.

      Conclusions and Implications

      This study offers developers of inoculation-based strategies additional insight into levers that could be targeted for building adolescent resistance to advertising effects.

      Key Words

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