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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

North Texas: Twitter Posts Offer Insight into Young Adult Drinking

Young adults’ social media chatter may reveal a lot about drinking behavior and intentions, say two University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Public Health  public health researchers.

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence by Dr. Dana M. Litt, Dr. Melissa A. Lewis and colleagues, examined a random, national sample of 5,000 Twitter posts from young adult drinkers ages 18-20, finding a significant link between alcohol-related tweets, willingness to drink, alcohol use and negative consequences.

The UNTHSC researchers, led by Dr. Lewis, are currently conducting a five-year, $2.4 million study examining an online intervention to reduce alcohol use and related risky behaviors among young adults, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Participants electing to share data from their public Twitter accounts provided insight into the relationship between their social media postings and self-reported alcohol behaviors, attitudes and risk perceptions.

“Social media has created a unique window into people’s thoughts, and our research indicates that there is certainly an association between what you’re posting on Twitter, what you’re thinking about doing and what you end up doing in reality,” Dr. Litt said. “Knowing that alcohol-related Twitter activity seems to reflect one’s actual behavior is important knowledge for researchers, public health practitioners and parents alike.”

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