Exposure to Alcohol Use in Movies and Problematic Use of Alcohol: A Longitudinal Study Among Latin American Adolescents
This study assesses the association between exposure to alcohol in movies and alcohol use transitions among Latin American adolescents.
A school-based longitudinal study involving 33 secondary schools in Argentina and 57 in Mexico was performed. The baseline sample included 1,504 never alcohol user adolescents in Argentina and 5,264 in Mexico (mean age = 12.5 years), of whom 1,055 and 3,540, respectively, completed a follow-up survey a year and a half later. Exposure to the 500 popular contemporary films was assessed by querying adolescents on 50 randomly selected titles. Films were content-coded for alcohol and exposure estimated from films seen. Logistic regression models estimated adjusted relative risk (aRR) for the following outcomes, net covariates, at follow-up: use of alcohol (having ever used alcohol), current alcohol use (alcohol use in the past 30 days), ever binge alcohol use (≥ 4 units of alcohol[females] or 5 for males).
At follow-up, respective adolescent alcohol use rates for Mexico and Argentina were 31% and 36% for use of alcohol, 18% and 27% for current alcohol use, and 8% and 19% for ever binge alcohol use. Greater exposure to alcohol in movies was independently associated with trying alcohol (aRR = 1.30, 95% CI [1.17, 1.43]), current alcohol use (aRR = 1.22, 95% CI [1.03, 1.44]), and binge alcohol use (aRR = 1.71, 95% CI [1.30, 2.25]) in Mexican adolescents, whereas in Argentina, movie alcohol exposure was associated only with trying alcohol (aRR = 1.25, 95% CI [1.02, 1.53]).
Exposure to alcohol in movies predicted underage drinking transitions in these Latin American adolescents, replicating prior results for U.S. and European cohorts.