Adolescents in the United Kingdom who were exposed to the most alcohol usage in films were more likely to drink alcohol and to drink more frequently than those with minimal exposure.
Study Rundown: Previous research has displayed a link between exposure to alcohol use in films and both personal alcohol use and binge drinking. It is unknown whether or not early childhood exposures affect this association. Authors of the current study sought to examine this relationship after adjusting for possible confounding influences. When controlling for early childhood social, family, and behavioral factors, the previous findings were confirmed. Adolescents exposed to the greatest amount of alcohol use in films were more likely to have tried alcohol, drink weekly, be binge drinkers, and have alcohol interfere and cause problems with their daily lives. Exposure data and results may be limited as it was unknown how frequently individual films were viewed and if parents sanctioned alcohol use. Nonetheless, these results may urge healthcare providers to counsel parents about monitoring and restricting the types of movies that their children watch.
Study Author, Dr. Andrea Waylen, PhD, talks to 2 Minute Medicine: School of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol.
“There is no question that alcohol use can have adverse effects on individuals and their families and friends. Therefore it is important to be aware of factors associated with the initiation of alcohol use and its ongoing potentially problematic use. In this study we adjusted for a broad range of individual, family and peer factors across early and middle childhood that are associated with alcohol use and still we find that exposure to alcohol use in movies is associated with an increased risk of trying alcohol, regular drinking, binge-drinking and alcohol-related problems. Physicians see parents and children regularly throughout childhood and therefore they have many opportunities to educate both parent and child about the importance of monitoring, discussing and possibly restricting media activities where content is inappropriate.”
In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: Data from 5163 adolescents in the United Kingdom were obtained from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Participants were asked about specific films seen and alcohol usage during a computer-assisted interview at age 15. Researchers controlled for early childhood social, family, and behavioral factors, adolescent tobacco use, and peer drinking with previously collected data. Results indicated that participants had been exposed to an average of 47.3 minutes of alcohol use in films. A total of 85.7% had tried alcohol, while 46.6% were classified as binge drinkers. Adolescents exposed to the greatest amount of alcohol usage in films had a 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1-1.3) times greater risk of trying alcohol than those exposed to the lowest of amount. These individuals also had a 2.4 (95% CI: 1.9-3.1) times increased risk of drinking weekly. The same group had a 1.7 (95% CI: 1.5-2.0) times elevated risk of binge drinking and a 2.0 (95% CI: 1.7-2.4) times greater risk of having alcohol-related problems (arguments, police involvement, hazardous situations, interference with school, etc.).
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