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Contexts: Alcohol-branded merchandise (ABM) has a longer shelf-life than other forms of alcohol marketing and the potential to become integrated into children’s self-identities.

Objective: This review sought to explore the current literature on children’s exposure to, and the impact of, ABM. Data sources: PsycInfo, Proquest, Science Direct, and ABI-Inform databases were searched from the earliest available date to May 2015. Additional studies were identified by a manual review of the reference lists of retrieved articles and contacting the corresponding author of each included study.

Study selection: Articles that reported on child or adolescent ownership of ABM and/or the relationship between ABM ownership and drinking were included.

Data extraction: Data on key measures were tabulated; where data of interest were not reported, requests for further information were sent to the articles’ authors.

Results: Nine cross-sectional and 4 longitudinal studies were identified. ABM ownership ranged from 11% to 59% and was higher among older children and males. Seven cross-sectional studies reported associations between ABM ownership and drinking-related behaviors. All 4 longitudinal studies reported a significant relationship between ownership at baseline and drinking initiation at follow-up.

Limitations: The small number of available studies, with different measures of ABM ownership and of associations/effects.

Conclusions: The few studies exploring ABM ownership are consistent in showing high rates of ownership and associations between ownership and current and future drinking. There is a need for further research into specific aspects of ABM ownership. However, there is also a need for policy interventions to reduce children’s access to and ownership of ABM.


Centre for Health and Social Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access