A clinical study has been published Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, in which the researchers did a direct correlation study on binge drinking and music, and the results show a possible link that can be blamed on music choices. Although the study was limited, a random survey of 2500 people between the ages of 15 and 23, it did have some interesting results. 59 percent stated that they have drank alcohol before, and this included beer, wine, or hard liquor. 18 percent reported that they binge drink monthly, and 37 percent stated that they have had issues with alcohol, such as incurring injuries when drinking. As far as the music goes, the participants were given names of songs, and asked if they knew or owned them. They were then asked if they remembered what type of alcohol is mentioned in those songs. Those that remembered the alcohol, were shown to be twice as likely to drink and more prone to binge drink. This was a surprising result to some of the doctors.
Research of current pop songs has shown that approximately one-quarter of current music has references to drinking and/or alcohol brands. This is exposing today’s kids to 14 alcohol references per song, per hour. This combined with the survey has led these researchers to conclude that at least in part, binge drinking can be blamed on the music that young adults are listening too. This is right up there with peers and parents in their lives contributing to a child’s propensity to drinking.
Reports and surveys to determine where a potential problem is coming from is all well and good, but how can it be stopped? An associate professor of medicine and the director of the Program for Research on Media and Health, Dr. Brian Primack, believes in the need to teach children how to think logically about what they are listening too. Talking to them about references in the music they are listening to, could lessen their chances of becoming binge drinkers. He also believes that talking about who is sending the message and whether it is really a part of their life or just a plug for a specific brand of alcohol, is important. Let them know what real life is about and the fact that many of these songs really are just advertising for these alcohol brands. Many involved in this study believe that music video’s also send deceptive messages to today’s young adults. A singer may be chugging alcohol in a video, but showing kids that it is not all glamour, and that the risks are higher than the rewards, is the positive reinforcement needed today. He also believes that if the true risks are known it will also reinforce the message of abstinence. Binge drinking can have immediate and deadly effects, such as violent outbursts, risky behavior sexually, injury and even worse, alcohol poisoning which could lead to coma or even death. It sounds scary and it is, but with knowledge comes power. Binge drinking teens can blame the music or the video’s, but many professionals believe it is up to parents to monitor and talk to them, and help mold them into responsible adults.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska
Medical News Today