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Media Images of Alcohol Can Drive You to Drink
Date:3/4/2009

Scenes in films, TV commercials have measurable impact, study finds

WEDNESDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Young men who watched the movie American Pie with accompanying commercials for alcohol were more apt to grab a beer or glass of wine from the refrigerator, compared to those who watched a movie without the drinking prompts.

This study shows for the first time the effect of on-screen depictions of alcohol and their influence on consumers' behavior, said the researchers, who are from Canada and the Netherlands.

"It's one of those things the majority of people have assumed to be the case, but it's nice to have the empirical evidence," said Jeffrey T. Parsons, chair of psychology at Hunter College in New York City. Parsons was not involved with the study, which was published online March 4 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

But, Parsons added, the study had limitations.

"It was done just with young men, and there are a lot of differences in the role of gender and alcohol," he said. "It's also a Dutch study that used American movies. Part of me wonders if it's just bad American movies that make people drink."

The study is unlikely to be the last word on the subject, Parsons added.

The new research isn't the only new troubling data coming out on alcohol and alcohol abuse.

On Tuesday, a report in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine said that an estimated 11 percent to 20 percent of U.S. teens have T-shirts, headwear, jewelry, key chains and other paraphernalia emblazoned with brands of alcoholic beverages. These children seem to be more prone to end up being binge drinkers, the Dartmouth researchers noted.

For the new study, 40 pairs of unsuspecting men aged 18 to 29 were invited into a lab that doubled as a "home cinema," complete with fridge (stocked with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks), a leather
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