Alcohol in movies may influence teen drinking


  • Health
  • Monday, 27 Apr 2015

When main characters in James Bond movies and TV shows like Mad Men drink alcohol, teens may want to do it too, says a recent British study.

Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the behaviour of teenagers to study the impact that films heavy on drinking had on them.

For this study, the results of which were published on April 13 in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers pored over data sourced from 5,163 15 year-olds, all members of Bristol's Children of the 90s study.

The researchers interviewed the teens about their drinking habits after asking them how many from a list of 50 movies, ranging from Bridget Jones' Diary to The Aviator, they had seen.

After quantifying total screen time devoted to drinking scenes in each movie, the researchers calculated individual teens' exposure to cinematic drinking. For the purpose of the study, they also took into account several other factors, such as the drinking habits of their parents, gender and social class.

Their conclusions reveal that teens who watched the most on screen drinking were 20% more likely to be tempted by alcohol and 70% more likely to partake in binge drinking.

When main characters in James Bond movies and TV shows like Mad Men drink alcohol, teens may want to do it too, says a recent British study.

Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the behaviour of teenagers to study the impact that films heavy on drinking had on them.

For this study, the results of which were published on April 13 in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers pored over data sourced from 5,163 15 year-olds, all members of Bristol's Children of the 90s study.

The researchers interviewed the teens about their drinking habits after asking them how many from a list of 50 movies, ranging from Bridget Jones' Diary to The Aviator, they had seen.

After quantifying total screen time devoted to drinking scenes in each movie, the researchers calculated individual teens' exposure to cinematic drinking. For the purpose of the study, they also took into account several other factors, such as the drinking habits of their parents, gender and social class.

Their conclusions reveal that teens who watched the most on screen drinking were 20% more likely to be tempted by alcohol and 70% more likely to partake in binge drinking.

Furthermore, the researchers noted that for these teens, the chances of drinking more than once a week were doubled, as were the chances of suffering from alcohol-related problems, including interference with school and work and even police encounters.

The researchers also noted that between 1989 and 2008, 72% of the most successful box office hits in the UK depicted drinking, yet only 6% were classified as movies for adults. The study concludes that there should be alcohol ratings and warnings similar to those which currently caution for violence and sexual content.

According to the researchers, teens identify with characters that drink who often come across to them as likeable and cool. Since movies don't often show their appealing characters vomiting, hung over, or sick, they concluded that rowdy spring break chugging contests and even demure sips of wine need to be taken more seriously.

Alcohol's portrayal in television and movies also reflects a genuine societal problem previously revealed by other studies. In February 2012, the British Medical Journal had examined how movies facilitated entry into boozing culture, particularly among teens who are more sensitive and vulnerable due to the "group effect." – AFP Relaxnews


   

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