There is widespread concern over the potential effects that media portrayals of drinking, especially alcohol product placement, may have on alcohol consumption and drinking-related problems. Despite the importance of the debate over alcohol in the media, the available research does not provide a definitive answer to the question of whether and how these portrayals affect drinking knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors. Moreover, there is only a limited understanding of alcohol related themes and images portrayed in television programming and how viewers interpret, understand, and respond to them. In order to address these issues, we propose two interrelated studies of television alcohol portrayals. The two proposed studies are: a content analysis of an eight-week composite sample of regular TV series focusing on the themes, images, and other characteristics of alcohol portrayals in television programming, and (b) an on-line survey of a diverse sample of viewers of these shows to investigate the effects of such alcohol portrayals on perceptions and beliefs regarding drinking. Together, the proposed studies will enhance our understanding of the frequencies and types of alcohol portrayals in current television programming and identify the processes through which such portrayals may shape viewers' responses and behaviors. Our conceptual model draws from television connectedness research (Russell & Puto, 1999) and takes into account the mediating role of the relationships viewers form with television characters on the influence that viewers receive from television programs. Consumption portrayals in the television program context more strongly affect highly connected viewers' beliefs and behaviors because they view the TV characters displaying these consumptions as referent others and thus behavioral models. The results will provide a firmer basis for designing prevention strategies to counter the effects of TV-based alcohol portrayals on people's drinking beliefs and behaviors.
|Russell, Cristel Antonia; Russell, Dale W (2009) Alcohol Messages in Prime-Time Television Series. J Consum Aff 43:108-128|
|Russell, Cristel Antonia; Russell, Dale W; Grube, Joel W (2009) Nature and Impact of Alcohol Messages in a Youth-Oriented Television Series. J Advert 38:97-112|
|Russell, Dale W; Russell, Cristel Antonia (2008) Embedded alcohol messages in television series: the interactive effect of warnings and audience connectedness on viewers'alcohol beliefs. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 69:459-67|