Parental co-viewing and susceptibility for smoking and drinking in adolescents: An experimental pilot study

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Background and Objectives:

The current pilot study is the first experiment to examine whether parents are able to diminish the adverse influences of smoking and drinking depicted in movies through co-viewing.


For this study, 99 adolescents (M = 12.82 years old; SD = .95; 38.8% boys) watched the 3D version of Titanic in the cinema. Through randomization, adolescents were invited to come with either a parent or a friend. After watching the movie, adolescents filled out a questionnaire that assessed their susceptibility for smoking and drinking and their social images concerning these behaviors.


The findings revealed that adolescents who co-viewed the movie with their parents, compared to with their friends, were at the same or an even higher risk for future smoking or drinking after watching the movie. The findings also indicated that only a few parents communicated about smoking and drinking while watching the movie.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance:

Simply co-viewing might not be an effective way for parents to blunt the effect of smoking and drinking in movies. In addition to ensuring more caution when advising parents to simply co-view movies, the present findings encourage additional research on the impact of instructive mediation strategies. (Am J Addict 2014;23:349–356)

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