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J Stud Alcohol. 1990 Sep;51(5):428-37.

Portrayals of alcohol on prime-time television.

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Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, California 94704.


Alcohol portrayals were analyzed for a 3-week composite sample of prime-time fictional television programs aired in the fall of 1986. Approximately 64% of the 195 episodes contained one or more appearances of alcohol. Alcohol was ingested on 50% of all programs. Overall, there were 8.1 alcohol drinking acts per hour. Movies made-for-television had the highest rate of drinking acts per hour (10.0) followed by situation comedies (9.2) and then theatrical movies (7.4) and dramas (7.4). Within the category of dramas, evening soap operas stand out with 13.3 acts per hour. Drinking and nondrinking characters were compared on a number of attributes relevant to role modeling. Regularly appearing characters were more likely to drink than nonregular characters. Drinking characters also tended to be of high status, largely being white, upper-class professionals. A time trend analysis showed a regular increase in alcohol on television from 1976 to 1984, reaching 10.2 acts in 1984. After 1984 the trend appears to reverse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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