Rock music has been blamed for an assortment of sins since Elvis Presley wiggled his waist and Michael Jackson grabbed his crotch. In truth, the dawn of each new genre of music has had some naysayers worrying over how rock music affects the behavior of the young people who listen to it. Now a new study by Brian Primack, a University of Pittsburgh associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, reports that when it comes to underage alcohol consumption, those concerns, in some instances, could be warranted.
Primack conducted a study of the listening habits of 3,400 males and females, aged 15 to 23. He discovered that on average, there are three or four alcohol brand name mentions in songs per hour with participants listening to rock music two-and-a-half hours per day. Primack put each listener into one of three groups–low, medium and high–in reference to his or her exposure to rock music featuring alcohol brand names. He determined that participants in the high group were twice as likely as those n the low group to indulge in binge drinking.
Overall, Primack states that young people who are exposed to multiple mentions of alcohol brand names in the rock music they listen to are inclined to binge drink more often than those who do not listen as often to the same type of songs. ABC/WDIO’s Tahman Bradley posed an important inquiry asking: “(I)s it the music that causes kids to drink or do kids that drink just enjoy music that mentions these alcohol brand names? It’s hard to tell for sure,” adding “but it raises a concern that we should all take seriously.”
Senior research scientist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Lisa Hendrickson, finds Primack’s findings “worrisome”, especially if aural exposure to alcohol brand names has tee totaling teens jumping on the binge-drinking bandwagon. Henriksen also opined that the alcohol industry has taken a page out of the tobacco industry’s playbook by marketing their merchandise in a way designed to draw in young people.
Various online sources indicate that alcohol consumption is now a leading cause of death in young adults. It is also reportedly a major factor in chronic diseases, injuries and reduced life expectancy. 39 percent of adolescents report drinking and over 20 percent admit to binge drinking.
So now the question is if youth alcohol consumption is a major public health issue, do we focus on the music industry and impose more restrictions on an entire industry for that comparatively small percent of binge drinkers or e we focus our attention on the kids themselves and their parents who allow the alcohol abuse to happen because they cannot control their own offspring?
Booze brands in rock music make adolescents alcoholics
(Image courtesy of NJFamily)