4 march 2009

Alcohol Portrayal on Television Affects Actual Drinking Behaviour

AIMS: Alcohol portrayal in movies and commercials is generally positive and might stimulate young people to drink. We tested experimentally whether portrayal of alcohol images in movies and commercials on television promotes actual drinking.

METHODS: In a naturalistic setting (a bar lab), young adult male pairs watched a movie clip for 1 h with two commercial breaks and were allowed to drink non-alcohol and alcoholic beverages. These participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions varying on the type of movie (many versus few alcohol portrayals) and commercials (alcohol commercials present or not).

RESULTS: Participants assigned to the conditions with substantial alcohol exposure in either movies or commercials consume more alcohol than other participants. Those in the condition with alcohol portrayal in movie and commercials drank on average 1.5 glasses more than those in the condition with no alcohol portrayal, within a period of 1 h.

CONCLUSIONS: This study-for the first time-shows a causal link between exposure to drinking models and alcohol commercials on acute alcohol consumption.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Engels R.C.; Hermans R.; van Baaren R.B.; Hollenstein T.; Bot S.M.
  • Issue

    Alcohol Alcohol / pages 244-9 / 44(3)
  • Published Date

    4 march 2009