4101.3: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 7

Abstract #12556

Relationship between local news coverage of teen substance abuse and parental perceptions, beliefs, and knowledge in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area

Tula Michaelides, MPH, Health Communications Group, IQ Solutions, Inc, 11300 Rockville Pike, Suite 801, Rockville, MD 20852, 301-984-1471, tmichaelides@iqsolutions.com

In today’s environment, parents are bombarded with media messages to “talk to you child” about myriad topics. High on this list is talking to one’s child about drug use. Whether parents, in fact, embark on such discussions is influenced by many personal factors. Another influencing factor is parental perceptions and interpretation of information on teen drug abuse that they receive from the news media. A survey was initiated to assess the perception of media messages about substance abuse in a culturally diverse group of parents. We surveyed 150 parents of children between the ages of six and 18 years in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to gauge their knowledge and perception of messages about drug use among children/teens in newspapers. We used a pretested, 30-question survey instrument. These perceptions were compared to coverage of teen substance abuse in local newspapers to determine how these interpretations paralleled with the messages depicted in the news stories. News sources included the Washington Post, the Washington Times and USA Today. News coverage was assessed by locating key words in news articles from 1999 and early 2000, and comparing them to words used by the parents in the surveys.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to list perceptions of teen drug abuse among parents, and recognize whether there is a relationship between those perceptions and the treatment of substance abuse among children in local news coverage

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA