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Instigating Bystander Intervention in the Prevention of Alcohol-Impaired Driving: Analysis of Data Regarding Mass Media Campaigns

Rob T. Guerette, Jamie L. Flexon, Christopher Marquez

Objective: Research in the area of bystander intervention in the prevention of alcohol-impaired driving (AID) has mostly focused on the influence of existing factors (such as status or relationships) on the likelihood of intervening and has relied mostly on samples of college-age students. It remains unknown whether exposure to external stimuli, such as that of mass media marketing, has the ability to influence bystander intervention and whether differential tendencies to intervene hold true for the larger population. This study sought to explore the influence of external stimuli, in the form of mass media AID prevention messaging, on tendencies of bystander intervention and to determine other factors predictive of bystander intervention. Method: The study relied on national, nonprobability survey data of mostly non-college-age respondents collected to assess anti-AID media campaigns. Analyses entailed a series of ordinary least squares and binary logistic regression models. Results: Exposure to an AID media prevention campaign was not significantly related to individual concern over AID in the community or whether a bystander intervened to prevent an incident of AID. Seventy-six percent of respondents reported exposure to AID media prevention campaigns, whereas slightly more than 40% reported actually intervening to prevent an AID incident. Intervening bystanders had greater odds of being female and non-White and of perceiving the legal consequences of AID as being certain and severe. These factors, however, were mediated by respondent concern regarding the seriousness of the AID problem in their community. Conclusions: Findings suggest that AID media-based prevention messaging works best among those in the population who view AID as a serious problem in their community. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 74, 205211, 2013)