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Music Could Encourage Teenage Drinking

Update Date: Apr 10, 2014 01:46 PM EDT

Music is a part of everyone's life regardless of age. Even though music can be soothing and beneficial, a new study examined the "ugly" side of music. According to the researchers, music that mentions specific alcoholic brands could encourage teenagers to drink and abuse alcohol.

"Alcohol brand names are quite prevalent in popular music," Lisa Henriksen, senior research scientist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center said in the press release. "For example, hip-hop/rap lyrics favor luxury brands, such as Cristal and Hennessy, and brand references in rap music have increased four-fold over time, from eight percent in 1979 to 44 percent in 1997. It would be foolish to think that the alcohol industry is unaware of and uninvolved with alcohol-brand mentions in music. The strategy of associating products with hip culture and celebrities who are attractive to youth comes straight from a playbook written by the tobacco industry."

In this study, the team headed by, James D. Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, collected data on more than 3,400 young people between the ages of 15 and 23. The researchers interviewed the participants from 2010 to 2011 using U.S. landline and mobile numbers. The participants were separated into three levels, low, medium and high, based on how much they liked music that mentioned alcohol brands.

The researchers found that people in the high group were three times more likely than the people from the low group to consume one complete alcoholic drink within their lifetime. People from the high group were also two times more likely to participate in binge drinking.

"This is based on average exposure of 2.5 hours of music per day, with 3-4 brand mentions each hour," Brian Primack, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, said according to Philly. "However, this is just an average. For some kids it will be more, and for others it will be less."

The study was published in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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