Youth and alcohol in television stories, with suggestions to the industry for alternative portrayals

Adolescence. Fall 1988;23(91):533-50.


The mass media have long been criticized, particularly on the issue of youth and morality. Attempts to intervene with media executives to change the messages are a familiar accompaniment of the criticism. A specific issue is the presentation on television of incidents involving youth and drinking. Numerous relevant scenes, taken from field notes on prime-time television programs starting in the 1976-77 season, are described. They are also evaluated as to their appropriateness with respect to youth and alcohol. Several, but not all incidents are found to be useful to alcohol education for young people, and for adults as well. A series of suggestions for alternative portrayals is presented; these will be disseminated to producers, writers, and directors in the industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Television*