Scott, Stephanie, Rachel Baker, Janet Shucksmith, & Eileen Kaner (2014). Autonomy, special offers and routines: A Q methodological study of industry-driven marketing influences on young people’s drinking behaviour. Addiction, 109, 1833-1844. (doi:10.1111/add.12663)


Aim To identify shared patterns of views in young people relating to the influence of industry-driven alcohol marketing (price, promotion, product and place of purchase/consumption) on their reported drinking behavior. Design Q methodology harnessed qualitative and quantitative data to generate distinct clusters of opinions as follows: 39 opinion statements were derived from earlier in-depth qualitative interviews with 31 young people; by-person factor analysis was carried out on 28 participants’ (six previous interviewees and 22 new recruits) rank orderings of these statements (most-to-least agreement); interpretation of the factor arrays was aided by 10–15- minute debriefing interviews held immediately following each Q-sort. Setting Northeast England. Participants Young people aged 14–17 years purposively recruited from high schools, higher education colleges, youth centres and youth offending teams. Findings Centroid factor extraction and varimax rotation of factors generated three distinct accounts: factor one (‘autonomous, sophisticated consumers’) illustrated a self-defined sense of individuality and autonomy in alcohol choices; factor two (‘price-driven consumers’) appeared price-led, choosing to drink what was most accessible or cheapest; and factor three (‘context-focused consumers’) described drinking practices where products were chosen to serve specific functions such as being easy to carry while dancing. Conclusions Considering young people’s views on alcohol marketing, different perspectives can be identified. These include perceived imperviousness to marketing, responsiveness to price and affordability and responsiveness to marketing focusing on youth lifestyles.

Stephanie Scott <> is in the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.