Alcohol references on Facebook: effects on perceived attractiveness and employability

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Abstract

Referencing alcohol on social networking sites elicits disparate reactions depending on the context and the viewer: while comments and pictures depicting use, and even abuse, of alcohol are typically viewed positively by peers, employers interpret such behaviour negatively and often use such disclosures to reject job applicants. It is unclear how the portrayal of moderate alcohol use in neutral contexts effects perceptions of profile owners. We manipulated the top (most recent) posts on the Facebook timelines of male and female profile owners to reference either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in neutral contexts. References to alcoholic (vs. non-alcoholic) beverages resulted in profile owners being perceived as less employable, but had no effect on ratings of social- or physical-attractiveness. These results demonstrate that context may be vital for a positive interpretation of alcohol use with one’s peer group, but that even moderate use is potentially damaging when disclosed to potential employers.
LanguageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Internet Science
StateAccepted/In press - 12 Apr 2018

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employability
facebook
social attraction
alcohol
alcoholism
employer
peer group
applicant
networking
abuse
rating
interpretation

Cite this

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title = "Alcohol references on Facebook: effects on perceived attractiveness and employability",
abstract = "Referencing alcohol on social networking sites elicits disparate reactions depending on the context and the viewer: while comments and pictures depicting use, and even abuse, of alcohol are typically viewed positively by peers, employers interpret such behaviour negatively and often use such disclosures to reject job applicants. It is unclear how the portrayal of moderate alcohol use in neutral contexts effects perceptions of profile owners. We manipulated the top (most recent) posts on the Facebook timelines of male and female profile owners to reference either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in neutral contexts. References to alcoholic (vs. non-alcoholic) beverages resulted in profile owners being perceived as less employable, but had no effect on ratings of social- or physical-attractiveness. These results demonstrate that context may be vital for a positive interpretation of alcohol use with one’s peer group, but that even moderate use is potentially damaging when disclosed to potential employers.",
author = "Scott, {Graham G} and Gillian Bruce",
year = "2018",
month = "4",
day = "12",
language = "English",
journal = "International Journal of Internet Science",
issn = "1662-5544",
publisher = "University of Konstanz",

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AB - Referencing alcohol on social networking sites elicits disparate reactions depending on the context and the viewer: while comments and pictures depicting use, and even abuse, of alcohol are typically viewed positively by peers, employers interpret such behaviour negatively and often use such disclosures to reject job applicants. It is unclear how the portrayal of moderate alcohol use in neutral contexts effects perceptions of profile owners. We manipulated the top (most recent) posts on the Facebook timelines of male and female profile owners to reference either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in neutral contexts. References to alcoholic (vs. non-alcoholic) beverages resulted in profile owners being perceived as less employable, but had no effect on ratings of social- or physical-attractiveness. These results demonstrate that context may be vital for a positive interpretation of alcohol use with one’s peer group, but that even moderate use is potentially damaging when disclosed to potential employers.

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