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Alcohol use in films linked to adolescents’ drinking habits

Image of two wine glasses and a remote control

Press release issued: 13 April 2015

The more adolescents witness alcohol consumption in films, the more likely they are to try alcohol and participate in risky drinking behaviour, according to new research from the University of Bristol, published today in Pediatrics.

The researchers, including Dr Andrea Waylen, studied data on more than 5,000 adolescents with an approximate age of 15 years from Bristol’s Children of the 90s study.

They found that adolescents with the highest exposure to alcohol use in films were 1.2 times more likely to have tried alcohol than those least exposed, and 1.7 times more likely to binge drink.

Those with the highest exposure were also 2.4 times more likely to drink weekly and twice as likely to have alcohol-related problems than those less exposed.

The study authors suggest a review of film-rating categories and that alcohol ratings for all films may help reduce alcohol consumption in adolescents.

Between 1989 and 2008, 72 per cent of the most popular UK box office films depicted alcohol use, but only 6 per cent were classified as adult only.


‘Alcohol Use in Films and Adolescent Alcohol Use’ by Andrea Waylen, Sam Leary, Andrew Ness and James Sargent in Pediatrics

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