Workshop - Call for papers

Advancing theory and understanding of risky drinking behaviour: Insights from alcohol warning messages

British Academy funded Workshop 20th January 2017, Chester, UK

 Submission deadline: 5pm on 14th November 2016

Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant problem within societies as alcohol consumption and problem drinking cause 4.6% of all ill-health and premature deaths (Rehm et al., 2009). Furthermore, over 60 diseases and other types of trauma (excluding social and other population-level problems) have a causal link to alcohol use (Rehm et al., 2003).  Resultantly, governments have issued guidelines on the consumption of alcohol (e.g. UK: 2-3 units of alcohol per day; Australia: 2 standard drinks per day; USA: 3 drinks per day). However, consumers do exceed low-risk governmental guidelines (see World Health Organisation: WHO, 2014) with many countries in Europe having the highest proportions of citizens (aged 15+) engaging in heavy episodic drinking [defined by the WHO (2014) as drinking 60 or more grams of pure alcohol (7.5 units) during a single occasion on at least a monthly basis]. As a result, governments need to tackle excessive consumption of alcohol. One arm of an alcohol misuse prevention strategy is to warn consumers, on the potential harms to themselves from excessive alcohol consumption, through advertising; on-pack warnings; warnings at point-of-sale; or education in schools/community.  Support for alcohol warning policies among citizens is high (Greenfield et al., 2007; European Commission, 2010) yet research has questioned the efficacy of alcohol warning labels and concluded that evidence of their influence on changing behaviour is very limited (e.g., Stockley, 2001). However, previous reviews (e.g., Stockwell, 2006; Wilkinson and Room, 2009) on alcohol warning label research have been based on studies conducted primarily to evaluate the USA warning label introduced in 1989.  A new stream of research is now emerging on alcohol warning labels (e.g., Thomson et al. 2012; Pettigrew et al. 2014; Krischler and Glock, 2015; Jones and Gregory, 2010; Jarvis and Pettigrew, 2013; Armitage and Arden, 2016) which attempts to understand how different messages would work in improving health outcomes for consumers. A separate but related stream of research examines the effectiveness of alcohol messages in other forms such as advertising (e.g., Park and Morton, 2015; Agrawal and Duhachek, 2010). The current British Academy funded (no attendance fee charged) workshop aims to advance understanding of what might work in fostering low risk consumption of alcohol in line with governmental limits by the use of warning messages in various forms and settings.  The workshop aims to be multidisciplinary (e.g., from health education and communications, marketing, psychology, public health, and sociology) and welcomes research from diverse lenses and approaches.  The following topics are (non-exclusive) examples in which contributions are sought for the workshop:

·         Optimal designs of on-product alcohol messages or warnings

·         Evaluations of advertising campaigns that engender responsible alcohol consumption

·         Experimental, survey, or qualitative research that seeks to understand consumer reactions to alcohol messages or warnings

·         Research that focuses on cross-over effects of social marketing and commercial marketing in alcohol contexts

·         Cross-country research that explains how reactions to alcohol warning messages differ or are consistent

·         Evaluations of school/community-based initiatives that tackling problem/excessive drinking

·         Examinations of the process through which alcohol messages/warnings influence consumers

·         Critiques on the efficacy of alcohol warning messages

·         The ethics of alcohol warning messages

·         The influences of drinking cultures, life stage, family or peers in consumers’ acceptance of alcohol warning messages

·         Insights from other behavioural contexts that might be gainfully applied to alcohol warning research

·         Policy debate regarding alcohol warning messages

·         Longitudinal studies examining the effectiveness of alcohol warning messages

A special section of the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism will be published on this topic. Full details in due course.  The special section is not limited to papers presented at the workshop. Papers must have a focus on alcohol warning messages for the special section.


Agrawal, N. & Duhachek, A. (2010) Emotional compatibility and the effectiveness of antidrinking messages: A defensive processing perspective on shame and guilt. Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 263–273.

Armitage, C. J. & Arden, M.A.(2016) Enhancing the effectiveness of alcohol warning labels with a self-affirming implementation intention. Health Psychology.

European Commission (2010) EU citizens’ attitudes towards alcohol. (accessed on 10 October 2015).

Greenfield, T.K., Ye, Y. & Giesbrecht, N.A. (2007) Views of alcohol control policies in the 2000 National Alcohol Survey: what news for alcohol policy development in the US and its States? Journal of Substance Use, 12, 429-445.

Jarvis, W. & Pettigrew, S. (2013) The relative influence of alcohol warning statement type on young drinkers’ stated choices. Food Quality and Preference, 28, 244-252.

Jones, S.C. & Gregory, P. (2010) Health warning labels on alcohol products - the views of Australian university students. Contemporary Drug Problems, 37, 109-137.

Krischler, M. & Glock, S. (2015) Alcohol warning labels formulated as questions change alcohol-related outcome expectancies: a pilot study. Addiction Research and Theory, 23, 343-349.

Park, S-Y. & Morton, C.R. (2015) The role of regulatory focus, social distance, and involvement in anti-high-risk drinking advertising: a construal-level theory perspective. Journal of Advertising, 44, 338-348.

Pettigrew, S., Jongenelis, M., Chikritzhs, T., Slevin, T., Pratt, I.S., Glance, D. & Liang, W. (2014) Developing cancer warning statements for alcoholic beverages. BMC Public Health, 14, 786-795.

Rehm, J., Mathers, C., Popova, S., Thavorncharoensap, M., Teerawattananon, Y. & Patra, J. (2009) Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders. Lancet, 373, 2223–2233.

Rehm J., Room R., Monteiro M., Gmel, G., Graham, K., Rehn, N., Sempos, C.T. & Jernigan, D. (2003) Alcohol as a risk factor for the global burden of disease. European Addiction Research, 9, 157–164.

Stockley, C.S. (2001) The effectiveness of strategies such as health warning labels to reduce alcohol-related harms — an Australian perspective. International Journal of Drug Policy, 12, 153–166.

Stockwell, T.R. (2006) A review of research into the impacts of alcohol warning labels on attitudes and behaviour. British Columbia, Canada: University of Victoria, Centre for Addictions Research of BC.

Thomson, L.M., Vandenberg, B. & Fitzgerald, J.L. (2012) An exploratory study of drinkers views of health information and warning labels on alcohol containers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31, 240–247.

Wilkinson, C. & Room, R. (2009) Warnings on alcohol containers and advertisements: International experience and evidence on effects. Drug and Alcohol Review, 28, 426–435.

World Health Organization (2014) Global status report on alcohol and health 2014. (accessed on 10 May 2016).