Adolescent exposure to movies that depict alcohol consumption is significantly associated with binge drinking, according to a multi-national study published online Pediatrics.
Reiner Hanewinkel, Ph.D., of University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, and colleagues studied survey results from 16,551 students (mean age of 13.4 ± 1.18 years) from six European countries (Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and Scotland). Exposure to alcohol use depicted in movies was estimated from the 250 top-grossing movies of each country from 2004 to 2009.
The researchers found that 27 percent of the participants had consumed more than five drinks on at least one occasion. The crude relationship between movie alcohol use exposure and lifetime binge drinking was significant in all countries. After adjusting for variables, the relationship was still significant in all but one country. The association was content specific; there was no significant relationship between lifetime binge drinking and exposure to smoking in movies.
"The link between alcohol use in movies and adolescent binge drinking was robust and seems relatively unaffected by cultural contexts," the authors write.