246979 Substance use on a major television network

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monica Mundy, MPH , Department of Health Promotion & Administration, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
Phyllis A. Bryden, DrPH, MSPH, CPH, RN , Health Promotion & Administration, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
Michelyn W. Bhandari, DrPH, MPH, CPH , Department of Health Promotion and Administration, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
Background: Substance use is an issue among US youth. One television network focuses on teen and young adult viewers with several primetime lineup shows derived from popular teen novels and comic books. A content analysis of six of the network's 2009/2010 primetime shows was conducted to describe frequency and portrayal of substance use. Methods: A coding manual was developed containing variable definitions, coding sheets for each episode observed, and a list of main characters. DVDs were analyzed for the entire 2009/2010 season of six shows. Results: One thousand incidents were observed. Use/mention of alcohol occurred most frequently (738/1000, 73.8 %), then drugs (225/1000, 22.5%), and tobacco (7/1000,0.7%). The average number of incidents per episode was 7.6. The majority of alcohol incidents were visual (447/738, 60.6%), while the majority of drug incidents were verbal (200/255, 78.4%). Most alcohol incidents showed no consequences for substance use (647/738, 87.7%) while most drug incidents implied consequences for use (153/255, 60%). Conclusion: Use/mention of alcohol and drugs is excessive on this network's primetime programs. This is a concern not only for teens, but for the general viewing audience. The message to youth may be that there are no consequences associated with alcohol use/abuse. Due to advocacy group efforts and policy change, there was minimal tobacco use/mention on the observed shows. The same efforts need to be applied to alcohol and drugs portrayed in television programs.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the frequency of alcohol, tobacco, and drug mention/use on primetime shows on a major TV network. 2.Identify how often the consequences of using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs are shown on selected primetime shows. 3. Discuss how the portrayal (verbal and visual) of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs on primetime television shows may be of concern for teens and young adults.

Keywords: Youth, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I graduated with a Master of Public Health from Eastern Kentucky University in December of 2010. This submission is my capstone project for my degree program. I have also received my undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Kentucky. For the last 2 years I have also been working as a community advisor to Kentucky communities focusing on local and statewide smoke-free policy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.