Are Movies to Blame for Excessive Teen Drinking?
09 Apr, 2012 - 11:57pm
In a study conducted across six different countries in the European continent, researchers have found that the amount of alcohol that teens consume are directly proportional and are correlated to the amount of drinking that they have watched and seen in television programs and movies.
In Kiel, Germany, Institute for Therapy and Health Research’s Reiner Hanewinkel and his team distributed over 16,000 surveys to public school students between the ages of 10 and 19 in Italy, Scotland, Poland, Iceland, Germany, and the Netherlands (countries with largely varying cultures, social norms, and general policies on drinking across the board) wherein the participants identified which 50 movies among a list of 600 that they’d seen over a five-year period in 2004 to 2009.
Hanewinkel and his team combed through the movies that were selected, and took note of the number of times that the characters in them (lead or otherwise) were shown to be imbibing any kind of alcoholic drink. A whopping 86% among the films that the students selected were found to have a minimum of one scene that showed an alcoholic drink, and/or the characters in the movie actually drinking it.
After obtaining this statistic, Hanewinkel and his team then determined the number of participants who admitted to at least one instance of binge drinking (officially defined as consuming more than five drinks in succession), and found that 27% of the respondents were able to be included in the category.
Although Hanewinkel says that there is no concrete proof as to whether the binge drinking occurred before or after the teens had seen the movie, the researcher says that a cause-and-effect correlation may be in play. He adds that the study likewise took into account other extenuating factors such as their general behavior, how they were doing in school, what their family backgrounds were, and the friends they hung out with.
The University of Hawaii’s Cancer Center, Honolulu’s Thomas Wills concurs, but is careful to caution parents not to suddenly curtail or put an embargo on the kinds of movies that their children saw. What’s more important, Wills adds, is that parents’ relationships with their children are solid and intact; that they be examples in themselves, and be clear with regard to the rules of their household.