Author: Thomas N. Robinson, Helen L. Chen, Joel D. Killen
Title: Television and Music Video Exposure and Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Use
Journal: Pediatrics, 1998, 102.
Objective: The study examines whether media exposure affects alcohol use in adolescents during a 18-month follow-up.
Design: Prospective cohort study (longitudinal study). The respondents reported the hours of television, music video, videotape viewing, computer game viewing and video game viewing. In addition they reported lifetime alcohol use and past 30 days alcohol use at the baseline and 1.5 year later.
Setting: Six public high schools in San Jose, California, US
Participants: 14-15 year olds (N=1533)
Methods: The sample was divided into baseline drinkers (n=898) and baseline non-drinkers (n=635) and the analysis was performed separately for these groups. Among non-drinkers the dependent variable was onset of drinking between the baseline and the follow-up, and among the baseline drinkers the dependent variable was the maintenance (or increase) of drinking. Both dependent variables were converted into dichotomous variables. Logistic regression analyses were performed to calculate the odds ratios for an exposure of 1 hour per day for each type of media use.
Findings: During the 18 months follow-up 325 (36.2%) non-drinkers began drinking. Controlling for the effects of age, gender, ethnicity, and the exposure to other media, each 1-hour per day increase in television viewing is associated with a 9% increased risk for initiating drinking (OR=1.09 (1.01-1.18)). Each 1-hour per day increase in watching music videos is associated with a 31% increased risk for initiating drinking (OR=1.31 (1.17-1.47)). Exposure to computer or video games was not significantly associated with the onset of drinking. VCR video viewing decreased the chance of starting to drink. During 18-month follow-up, 322 (51%) drinkers continued drinking. There were no significant associations between media exposure and maintenance of drinking.
Conclusions Authors: Television programmes and music videos contain large amounts of portrayals and promotion of alcohol use. Portrayals of alcohol use are less prevalent in video tapes and computer and video games. The results indicate that expose of television and music videos increase the onset of alcohol use in adolescents but are not associated with continued use of alcohol. In contrast, watching videos decreases the chance of starting to drink alcohol and playing video and computer games is not associated with onset of drinking.
Remarks of EUCAM:
The results of the study are large and the quality of the study seems good. However, we can make a few remarks:
1. The study does not use a direct measurement of exposure to promotions and portrayals of alcohol use in media, but uses an approximation by asking respondents to report the exposure of different types of media. It is hypothesized but not tested that television programmes and music videos contain larger amounts of portrayals and promotion of alcohol use compared to video tapes and computer and video games.
2. Although the self-reported levels of media exposure in the survey are in line with national data, it is still possible that the use of only self-report of media exposure gives a measurement error which could not be controlled for in the analysis.