Drinking and teenagers go together like peanut butter and jelly. Scientists, however, are saying that movies may be the new "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" of the adolescent universe. It's a given that young adults are influenced by the things that they see and hear around them, but now researchers are pointing to the movies as one of the biggest culprits when it comes to binge drinking in teens. According to a recent study by European researchers, the more scenes in films that involve alcohol, the greater chance a teen will go on a bender. And for those of you thinking, "Oh, but this wouldn't count for European teens, since they grew up with alcohol and don't abuse it," think again. The study found that this increase was the case despite cultural differences.
"We did not expect this clear finding, but it shows how influential media are in a young person's life," Reiner Hanewinkel, Ph.D, from the Institute for Therapy and Health Research in Kiel, Germany shared. "Hollywood blockbusters are distributed worldwide, and they have an impact not only on U.S. teens but also abroad."
Scientists surveyed 16,500 students ages 10 (!?) to 19 from six European countries, asking how often they drank five alcoholic beverages during one sitting, cross referencing a list of 50 movies (many of them Hollywood blockbusters). Researchers also took into consideration things like peer pressure, family history, gender. The results showed that 27 percent of European teenagers engaged in binge drinking, a number slightly higher than U.S. adolescents — and the same link has been found with American audiences.
So in plain English, teenagers like to drink (shocking, we know) and are twice as likely to binge drink when exposed to certain films. More studies are being done to pinpoint cause and effect when it comes to sloppy drunk cinema. Are you surprised by these findings? Do you agree with them?