Tobacco and alcohol use in G-rated children's animated films.

Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 281(12):1131-6.
Source: PubMed


Tobacco and alcohol use among youth are major public health problems, but the extent to which children are routinely exposed to tobacco and alcohol products in children's films is unknown.
To identify the prevalence and characteristics associated with tobacco and alcohol use portrayed in G-rated, animated feature films. Design All G-rated, animated feature films released between 1937 and 1997 by 5 major production companies (Walt Disney Co, MGM/United Artists, Warner Brothers Studios, Universal Studios, and 20th Century Fox) that were available on videotape were reviewed for episodes of tobacco and alcohol use.
Presence of tobacco and alcohol use in each film, type of tobacco or alcohol used, duration of use, type of character using substance (bad, neutral, or good), and any associated effects.
Of 50 films reviewed, 34 (68%) displayed at least 1 episode of tobacco or alcohol use. Twenty-eight (56%) portrayed 1 or more incidences of tobacco use, including all 7 films released in 1996 and 1997. Twenty-five films (50%) included alcohol use. Smoking was portrayed on screen by 76 characters for more than 45 minutes in duration; alcohol use was portrayed by 63 characters for 27 minutes. Good characters use tobacco and alcohol as frequently as bad characters. Cigars and wine are shown in these films more often than other tobacco or alcohol substances.
More than two thirds of animated children's films feature tobacco or alcohol use in story plots without clear verbal messages of any negative long-term health effects associated with use of either substance.

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Available from: Adam Goldstein, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "Alcohol consumption is also very commonly portrayed in films, including in (US) G-rated (General Audience) [27] and animated [28] films. A content analysis of 100 of the top grossing US films between 1986 and 1994 reported that 96% had references that supported alcohol use, and 79% included at least one character who used alcohol. "
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    ABSTRACT: As the promotion of alcohol and tobacco to young people through direct advertising has become increasingly restricted, there has been greater interest in whether images of certain behaviours in films are associated with uptake of those behaviours in young people. Associations have been reported between exposure to smoking images in films and smoking initiation, and between exposure to film alcohol images and initiation of alcohol consumption, in younger adolescents in the USA and Germany. To date no studies have reported on film images of recreational drug use and young people's own drug use. Cross sectional multivariable logistic regression analysis of data collected at age 19 (2002-4) from a cohort of young people (502 boys, 500 girls) previously surveyed at ages 11 (in 1994-5), 13 and 15 in schools in the West of Scotland. Outcome measures at age 19 were: exceeding the 'sensible drinking' guidelines ('heavy drinkers') and binge drinking (based on alcohol consumption reported in last week), and ever use of cannabis and of 'hard' drugs. The principle predictor variables were an estimate of exposure to images of alcohol, and of drug use, in films, controlling for factors related to the uptake of substance use in young people. A third of these young adults (33%) were classed as 'heavy drinkers' and half (47%) as 'binge drinkers' on the basis of their previous week's consumption. Over half (56%) reported ever use of cannabis and 13% ever use of one or more of the 'hard' drugs listed. There were linear trends in the percentage of heavy drinkers (p = .018) and binge drinkers (p = 0.012) by film alcohol exposure quartiles, and for ever use of cannabis by film drug exposure (p = .000), and for ever use of 'hard' drugs (p = .033). The odds ratios for heavy drinking (1.56, 95% CI 1.06-2.29 comparing highest with lowest quartile of film alcohol exposure) and binge drinking (1.59, 95% CI 1.10-2.30) were attenuated by adjustment for gender, social class, family background (parental structure, parental care and parental control), attitudes to risk-taking and rule-breaking, and qualifications (OR heavy drinking 1.42, 95% CI 0.95-2.13 and binge drinking 1.49, 95% CI 1.01-2.19), and further so when adjusting for friends' drinking status (when the odds ratios were no longer significant). A similar pattern was seen for ever use of cannabis and 'hard' drugs (unadjusted OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.24-2.62 and 1.57, 95% CI 0.91-2.69 respectively, 'fully' adjusted OR 1.41 (0.90-2.22 and 1.28 (0.66-2.47) respectively). Despite some limitations, which are discussed, these cross-sectional results add to a body of work which suggests that it is important to design good longitudinal studies which can determine whether exposure to images of potentially health-damaging behaviours lead to uptake of these behaviours during adolescence and early adulthood, and to examine factors that might mediate this relationship.
    BMC Public Health 04/2011; 11(1):259. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-259 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "With respect to vicarious learning about the effects of drinking, national surveys show that the great majority of American adults (82.7%) have tried alcohol and that a clear majority (65.4%) drank in the past year (Chen, Yi, Falk, Stinson, Dawson, & Grant, 2006), and are thus likely to serve as models for drinking and for its effects. In addition, 71 percent of primetime television episodes sampled from the 1998-99 season included alcohol use (Christenson et al., 2000), and 83% of the 100 top-grossing motion pictures in each year from 1998 to 2002 depicted alcohol use (Dal Cin, Worth, Dalton & Sargent, 2008), as did half of the G-rated animated feature films in a recent review (Goldstein et al., 1999; see also Thompson & Yokota, 2001). There are thus multiple sources from which children can learn vicariously about the effects of alcohol use. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol expectancies are important predictors of alcohol involvement in both adolescents and adults, yet little research has examined the social origins and transmission of these beliefs. This paper examined alcohol outcome expectancies collected in a cohort-sequential longitudinal study of 452 families with children followed over seven waves. Children completed interviews every 6 months, and parents completed interviews annually. Eighteen of 27 alcohol expectancies were highly consensual, being endorsed by significantly more than 67% of the mothers and fathers. These consensual expectancies were also highly stable over a 3-year period. Over the same period, children increased their adoption of both the positive and negative consensual alcohol expectancies. Unconditional latent growth modeling showed that piece-wise growth models with a transition at age 12 fit the data best. Both the positive and negative consensual expectancies were adopted at a faster rate between ages 8.5 and 11.5 than between ages 12 and 13.5. For negative expectancies, there was no further growth between ages 12 and 13.5. Taken together, these findings support the conceptualization of alcohol outcome expectancies as socially shared and transmitted beliefs.
    Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 07/2009; 23(2):248-59. DOI:10.1037/a0015061 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Studies have also shown that many movie productions from Disney Studio and other similar production houses had influenced children negatively in certain aspects such as smoking and alcohol abuse. As an example, [1] "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the design and development of an animated folk tales edutainment software to motivate socio-cultural awareness among children and adolescents. One application of multimedia technology is in edutainment, which includes animated cartoon, animation movies and digital games. Edutainment software can be used to tutor specific subjects, or to change behavior by engendering specific socio-cultural attitudes, such as to address health and social issues of substance abuse or HIV/AIDS and cancer. Animation can also be used as one approach to digital storytelling to encourage literacy. However, some popular animations promote negative behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use besides causing some neuropsychological problems to children. Therefore there is a need for research to develop well designed animation software with good story plots and local socio-cultural values for educating as well entertaining our children. The objective of this research is to develop and evaluate an edutainment animation software based on a Malay folk story to motivate socio-cultural awareness among schoolchildren and adolescents. This research also hopes to help popularize folk stories among the younger generation besides inculcate good reading habit among adolescents.
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