Exposure to Alcohol Use in Motion Pictures and Teen Drinking in Latin America

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Abstract

Background:

Our objective was to assess whether exposure to alcohol use in films (AUF) is associated with alcohol use susceptibility, current alcohol use, and binge drinking in adolescents from 2 Latin American countries.

Methods:

We performed a cross-sectional study with 13,295 middle school students from public and private schools in Mexico and Argentina. Exposure to alcohol use in over 400 contemporary top box office films in each country was estimated using previously validated methods. Outcome measures included current drinking (i.e., any drink in the last 30 days), ever binge drinking (i.e., more than 4 or 5 drinks in a row for females and males, respectively) and, among never drinkers, alcohol susceptibility (i.e., might drink in the next year or accept a drink from a friend). Multivariate models were adjusted for age, sex, parental education, peer drinking, sensation seeking, parenting style, and media access.

Results:

Mean age was 12.5 years (SD = 0.7), and the prevalence of alcohol consumption and binge drinking was 19.8 and 10.9%, respectively. Mean exposure to alcohol from the film sample was about 7 hours in both countries. Adjusted models indicated independent dose–response associations between higher levels of exposure to AUF and all outcomes; the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) comparing quartiles 4 and 1, 1.99 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.73 to 2.30) for current drinking, aOR 1.68 (CI 1.39 to 2.02) for binge drinking, and aOR 1.80 (1.52 to 2.12) for alcohol susceptibility. Compared to Mexican adolescents, Argentine adolescents were significantly more likely to have engaged in binge drinking (aOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.76) and, among never drinkers, were more susceptible to try drinking (aOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.64).

Conclusions:

Higher levels of exposure to AUF were associated with higher likelihood of alcohol use, binge drinking, and alcohol susceptibility in Latin American adolescents.

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