Music Aimed at Teens Often Promotes Drinking: Study

THURSDAY Oct. 20, 2011 -- American teens hear a lot of references to alcohol brand names in popular music, a new study finds.

The references to alcohol brands, which are most common in rap, R&B and hip hop songs, are often associated with the depiction of a luxury lifestyle that includes partying and risky behavior, such as violence, drug use and degrading sexual activity, according to the University of Pittsburgh researchers.

For the study, the investigators analyzed 793 of the most popular songs among youths between 2005 and 2007 and discovered that about 25 percent of the songs that mention alcohol also mention a specific alcohol brand.

The researchers calculated that there were about 3.4 alcohol brand references in every one hour's worth of songs. The average teen hears about 2.5 hours of popular music a day, which means they have substantial exposure to alcohol brand references in songs.

Alcohol brand references in songs were commonly associated with wealth (63 percent), sex (59 percent), luxury objects (51 percent), partying (49 percent), other drugs (44 percent) and vehicles (39 percent), according to the report published in the Oct. 20 online edition of the journal Addiction.

Frequent exposure to alcohol brand names in popular music may act as a form of advertising and could contribute to the early start and continuation of substance abuse among teens, the researchers noted in a journal news release. However, they added that, in most cases, the references to these brand-name products appear to be unsolicited by advertisers.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about teens and alcohol.

Posted: October 2011


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