17 february 2024

The prevalence of alcohol references in music and their effect on people’s drinking behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Understanding the prevalence of alcohol references in music and their impact on alcohol drinking behavior is important given the increased accessibility to daily music listening with the proliferation of smart devices. In this review, we estimate the pooled prevalence of alcohol references in music and its association with drinking behavior. Systematic searches were conducted across four major databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and CINHAL). Articles were selected following duplicate checking, title and abstract screening, and full-text review. Studies reporting the prevalence of alcohol-referencing music and/or investigating its association with drinking behavior were included. Pooled prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed using a random effects model. Of 1007 articles identified, 26 met inclusion criteria and 23 studies comprising 12,224 songs were eligible for meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of alcohol references in music (including lyrics and videos) was 24.0% (95% CI: 19.0%-29.0%). The pooled prevalence was 22.0% (95% CI: 16.0%-29.0%) for only lyrics, 25.0% (95% CI: 18.0%-33.0%) for only the visual elements of music videos, and 29.0% (95% CI: 21.0%-38.0%) for both the lyrical content and the visual components. Only three studies assessed the relationship between listening to music with alcohol references and drinking behavior, and all three reported a positive association. Whereas almost a quarter of all songs included references to alcohol, public health preventive measures are needed to reduce alcohol exposure from music. Future research is needed to understand fully the effect of music with alcohol references on drinking behavior.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Alen G. D.; Anderson-Luxford D.; Kuntsche E.; He Z.; Riordan B.
  • Issue

    Periodical: Alcohol Clin Exp Res (Hoboken) - Edition: 20240217
  • Published Date

    17 february 2024