152991 Where are the parents?: Newspaper coverage of parent strategies to address college drinking (1997-2006)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 9:00 AM

Natoshia M. Askelson, MPH, PhD , Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Shelly Campo, PhD , Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Teresa Mastin, PhD , College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Mary Slonske , College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
While binge drinking rates among college students have remained high in the last decade, college health professionals struggle with developing effective strategies to address the issue. Parent-child communication and parental monitoring have been associated with less alcohol consumption for college-aged students. One way for parents to be prompted to incorporate parenting practices that discourage alcohol use is through media coverage. In order to understand the media messages that parents are receiving, a content analysis of major newspapers between 1997-2006 was conducted to determine the coverage of parenting strategies by year and region. Parenting strategies were determined by a review of the literature on parenting practices related to alcohol and substance abuse prevention. Thirty-two major newspapers were searched using Lexis-Nexis resulting in 255 newspaper articles. Of those 255 articles, only 49 articles (19.2%) mentioned one or more of the 12 parent strategies for preventing binge drinking. While rare, the most frequently mentioned strategies were parental notification from colleges regarding student problem behavior related to alcohol and talking with a college-aged child. The least mentioned strategies involved monitoring activities, staying connected with college-aged children, and explaining the parental consequences of binge drinking. Coverage of parenting strategies in newspapers has declined since 1998. In 2002, there was a spike in coverage of parenting strategies, coinciding with the release of a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report. Regional differences in coverage also existed, with newspapers in the Northeast and Southeast covering parent strategies more frequently. Implications for media advocacy will be addressed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe newspaper coverage of parent strategies to address college drinking by year and region over the past decade. Identify media advocacy approaches to increase coverage of parental involvement regarding college drinking problems. List specific parent strategies for addressing college drinking problems. Articulate the importance of parents in addressing college drinking problems.

Keywords: Communication, Alcohol

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.