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Alcohol Warning Label Awareness and Attention: A Multi-method Study

09 Nov 2017

AbstractAimsEvaluation of alcohol warning labels requires careful consideration ensuring that research captures more than awareness given that labels may not be prominent enough to attract attention. This study investigates attention of current in market alcohol warning labels and examines whether attention can be enhanced through theoretically informed design. Attention scores obtained through self-report methods are compared to objective measures (eye-tracking).MethodsA multi-method experimental design was used delivering four conditions, namely control, colour, size and colour and size. The first study (n = 559) involved a self-report survey to measure attention. The second study (n = 87) utilized eye-tracking to measure fixation count and duration and time to first fixation. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was utilized.ResultsEye-tracking identified that 60% of participants looked at the current in market alcohol warning label while 81% looked at the optimized design (larger and red). In line with observed attention self-reported attention increased for the optimized design.ConclusionsThe current study casts doubt on dominant practices (largely self-report), which have been used to evaluate alcohol warning labels. Awareness cannot be used to assess warning label effectiveness in isolation in cases where attention does not occur 100% of the time. Mixed methods permit objective data collection methodologies to be triangulated with surveys to assess warning label effectiveness.Short summaryAttention should be incorporated as a measure in warning label effectiveness evaluations. Colour and size changes to the existing Australian warning labels aided by theoretically informed design increased attention.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Alcohol and Alcoholism