Stars who knock back whiskey, wine or beer in a movie are an invisible but potent force in prompting youngsters to experiment with alcohol or binge-drink, a new large study suggests.
Major exposure to scenes of alcohol consumption in movies is a bigger risk for teen drinking than having parents who drink or if booze is easily available at home, it says.
Unprecedented in its scope, the probe entailed a confidential telephone survey of more than 6,500 randomly-selected Americans aged 10 to 14 years, who were then interviewed three more times over the next two years.
The youngsters were surveyed on what big movies they had seen, whether they drank alcohol or owned merchandise with a liquor brand on it, and were also asked questions about their personality, school and home life.
The researchers then measured the amount of exposure to alcohol in movies, determined by a character's actual or implied consumption of a drink or purchase of it.
The youngsters, they found, had typically notched up a total of four and half hours of such exposure. Many had seen a total of more than eight hours.
Teens who watched the most movies featuring alcohol were twice as likely to start drinking as those who watched the least. They were also 63 percent likelier to progress to binge-boozing.
Watching movies were alcohol was consumed was a far greater risk than having dud parents or parents who drank, having lots of pocket money, being a rebellious character or having drink available at home.
Source: Fox News