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J Health Commun. 2013;18(2):179-91. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2012.688251. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Portrayals of teen smoking, drinking, and drug use in recent popular movies.

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Department of Communication Studies, University of San Diego, San Diego, California 92110, USA.


Studies indicate that films can influence adolescents' attitudes toward and initiation of substance use. It is therefore important to periodically assess film content to assess the types of imagery adolescents are likely to encounter. This study content analyzed teen characters in top films featuring teenagers from 2007, 2008, and 2009 to assess smoking, drinking, and drug use portrayals. Results indicate a relatively low incidence of smoking and drug use. However, one in five teen characters are shown drinking. Overall, substance use depictions have diminished considerably compared with films released at the earlier end of the decade. However, consequences of substance use were infrequently depicted, and characters seldom refused invitations to drink or do drugs. Given these findings, some potentially counterproductive outcomes are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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