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Alcohol Alcohol. 2012 Sep-Oct;47(5):612-23. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/ags073. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Alcohol portrayals in movies, music videos and soap operas and alcohol use of young people: current status and future challenges.

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Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9104, Nijmegen 6500HE, The Netherlands.



To provide an overview of studies of the effects of alcohol portrayals in movies, music videos and soap operas on alcohol consumption among young people. Moreover, we highlight important issues that need to be addressed in future research.


This paper reviews the current literature on alcohol portrayals on-screen and the associated gaps and challenges in alcohol media research.


Thirteen longitudinal studies, 8 cross-sectional studies and 6 experimental studies examined the effects of alcohol portrayals on-screen on alcohol consumption among young people. They showed a relation between on-screen alcohol exposure and onset and progression of alcohol consumption. A distinction can be made between long-term effects and immediate effects on alcohol consumption. Only lately, more attention has been paid to processes underlying the effects of on-screen alcohol exposure.


Replication of findings and development of new research designs is essential. On-screen alcohol exposure does not affect everyone. It is important to test individual differences in susceptibility to on-screen alcohol portrayals. Further, not all media alcohol portrayal might provoke similar effects. It is therefore essential to test the effect of different types of alcohol portrayals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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