Effects of alcohol portrayals in movies on actual alcohol consumption: an observational experimental study

Addiction. 2011 Mar;106(3):547-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03224.x. Epub 2010 Dec 6.


Aims: This study uses an experimental design to assess the effects of movie alcohol portrayal on alcohol consumption of young adults while watching a movie. Gender, weekly alcohol use and identification with the movie actor/character were assessed as moderators.

Design: A two (sex) × two (movie: alcohol or no portrayal of alcohol) between-subject design was used.

Setting: Participants watched a contemporary movie in a semi-naturalistic living room setting.

Participants: A total of 122 same-sex, young adult dyads (ages 18-29 years) participated in the experiment.

Measurements: Their actual alcohol consumption while watching was examined. A multivariate regression analysis was used to examine the effects of the movie condition on alcohol consumption.

Findings: Assignment to movie alcohol increased alcohol consumption during the movie for men but not women. Identification and weekly alcohol consumption did not moderate the relation between movie condition and alcohol consumption.

Conclusions: Viewing a movie with alcohol portrayal can lead to higher alcohol consumption in young men while watching the movie.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult