HealthDay News reported about a new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggesting that teen drinking habits are influenced by movies featuring imbibing characters.
The findings fit with evidence that teens are more likely to engage in various risky behaviors that occur in the films and TV shows they watch, said study author Andrea Waylen, a senior lecturer in social sciences at the University of Bristol in England.
For the latest study, Waylen and her team of researchers surveyed 5,000 English 15-year-olds to find out which of 50 movies they had seen. The films had been randomly selected from popular, recent films, and the researchers had measured how many minutes in each film showed alcohol use.
The teens were categorized according to whether they had seen a small amount of alcohol use in movies (less than 28 minutes), a lot (at least 64 minutes) or somewhere in between. They also answered questions about whether they drank alcohol and how often.
Eighty-six percent of the teens said they had tried alcohol. Nearly half said they participated in binge drinking. And just over 40 percent said they’d had an alcohol-related problem, the researchers found.
The researchers found that teens exposed to the most drinking in movies were still 20 percent more likely to have tried alcohol than teens with the lowest exposure.
Those who watched the most alcohol use in films also were almost twice as likely to binge drink and more than twice as likely to drink weekly as those who had seen the least alcohol use. Teens who saw a lot of drinking in movies were also twice as likely to have alcohol-related problems.
The study authors suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America board that determines ratings take alcohol use into consideration. They also recommend that parents should talk with their children about what they see, or watch the films with their kids.