Emma Begley is a Research Assistant at the Public Health Institute within the Substance Use team. She has worked a number of research projects including The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) where she coordinated participant recruitment throughout the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Having also been involved in a Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project exploring media representations of alcohol and their influence of young people’s drinking, Emma has developed an interest in UK drinking culture and trends, particularly the drinking practices of young people. With further interest in areas of illicit drug use, particularly researching Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), Emma is now currently working on the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs project (ERANID) and Internet Tools for Research in Europe on New Drugs (I-TREND) Project.
Emma Begley's Publications
Constructing alcohol identities – The role of Social Network Sites (SNS) in young peoples’ drinking cultures
The report presents findings of a research study exploring the role and place of Social Networking Sites (SNS) in young people’s drinking culture, and in the construction of alcohol-related identities in a peer group context. The theoretical concept of social, cultural, symbolic and economic capital was applied in order to understand the importance of drinking and alcohol marketing in young peoples’ friendship groups and the significant role of SNS in symbolising valued drinking practices within and between peer groups. It reports findings of three stages of data collection and analysis. Firstly, a content analysis of SNS (Facebook, Twitter) alcohol marketing and user interaction with brands (N=5) popular among young people was conducted. This was then compared to the use of SNS by UK based alcohol health promotion campaigns. Interviews and discussions with friendship groups of young people (16-21 years) (N=70) were then conducted to explore the role of SNS and official and peer generated alcohol content in their drinking cultures and individual and peer group identities. This was followed by an analysis of young people’s (N=43) Facebook profiles to examine how alcohol features as part of their online identities and friendship networks
“Top Ten for Number Ten” – A Public Health Manifesto from the North West Directors of Public Health
This public health manifesto was developed by the Centre for Public Health with the North West Directors of Public Health (NW DsPH). The document has been created to raise awareness of important public health issues and to inform discussion ahead of the 2015 General Election. The NW DsPH agreed their top ten priorities for public health including a range of topics such as minimum pricing per unit of alcohol, child poverty, physical activity in schools and increasing active travel, presented here with a summary
of the evidence around each issue.
Emma Begley's Papers
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Pages 1-8, 2016.
Abstract: Aim: The aim of the paper was to identify changes in the extent and patterns of anabolic steroid use in the United Kingdom to better understand the public health implications within the context of the current health-related evidence base. Methods: Using the two time points between 1995 (prior to legislation changes in the United Kingdom) and 2015, a review of the evidence related to health harms was conducted, in conjunction with needle and syringe programme (NSP) data in Cheshire & Merseyside (UK) relating to anabolic steroid users. Findings: Dramatic increase in the number of anabolic steroid users accessing NSPs, 553 in 1995 to 2446 in 2015, now accounting for 54.9% of clients. With the inclusion of pharmacy NSPs, this rose to 5336 individual anabolic steroid users. Conclusions: Key changes in our knowledge during the 20 years, in particular, in relation to HIV prevalence, changes in the market and patterns of use make anabolic steroid use a public health concern. In the context of increasing numbers of injectors, there is a need for comprehensive interventions.
An exploration of alcohol advertising on social networking sites: an analysis of content, interactions and young people’s perspectives
Addiction Research & Theory, 2016.
Abstract: Young people increasingly communicate and interact via social digital media such as Social Network Sites (SNS), where they discuss and display alcohol-related content. SNS have also become an important aspect of the alcohol industry’s multi-platform marketing strategies, which may contribute to the creation of intoxigenic digital spaces in which young people learn about alcohol. This paper presents findings of a content analysis of the extent, nature, and user interaction with SNS-based alcohol marketing for brands popular among young people in the UK. It provides a systematic analysis of both official and user generated marketing content on brand Facebook and Twitter profiles, and user interaction with such content. Findings from peer group interviews (N = 14) also present young people’s (N = 70) perspectives and experiences regarding alcohol marketing on SNS. New SNS engagement marketing strategies extended existing multi-platform brand marketing. Young people interacted with such strategies as part of their identity-making practices, yet through a discourse of immaturity distanced themselves from certain brands, online marketing practices and the idea that their own actions were influenced by marketing. Local night life economy marketing appeared more meaningful and relevant to young people and led to further interaction with brand marketing. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, and the implications for current regulatory frameworks.