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Substance abuse describes the increased use of a substance which is likely to have negative effect on the body. Substance abuse refers to the use of substance like alcohol, cigarettes and other hard drugs or the use of common medical drugs for pleasure purposes. Substance abuse has remained to be a leading problem among the youths in all parts of the world. The use of alcohol has particularly remained a thorny issue in the world especially concerning the problem of underage drinking.
The legal age of drinking remains one of the most controversial issues in the US and in many other countries in the world. Increased underage drinking has been attributed to many factors. Issues like the increased access of alcohol and lack of restriction alcohol purchase process have surfaced several times when we are referring to substance abuse. But all these are secondary factor which can be attributed to the increased rise of alcohol abuse in the underage youths. The most influential factor that has been identified in a number of studies has been the influence of the media on the youths.
Several studies have singled out the influence of the media as the leading factor in alcohol abuse with media advertisement which features alcohol and the inclusion of alcohol and cigarettes in the popular music and films have been singled out. Media influence on youths and effects on use of alcohol There have been many concerns about e effect of the media on the increased use of alcohol among the youths. It has bee shown that alcohol placement and the alcohol advertisement have a multiple effects the rate of consumption among the youths.
TV, Radios and films have also been found to have a lot of influence on the youths as far as alcohol consumption pattern is concerned. The mass media has been single out as one of the most influential avenue through which youths learn substance abuse. Young people have shown increased trend through which they learn the use of alcohol and other substances abuse especially drinking of alcohol and smoking of cigarettes. There is increased advertisement of alcohol compared to other drinks in the media which is influencing the youths negatively.
A study carried out by Mathios, et al, (1998) found out that there was increased advertisement of alcohol in the primetime news compared to other foods and drinks. The study which was carried out ion two weeks of broadcast television program selection from ABC, CBS, FOX and the NBC found out that food and beverages episodes within the programs were more frequently featured compared to other foods. Alcohol was the most food appearing for all ages and it accounted for a big percent of foods and drinks incidents for the adolescents.
The fact that there are more appearances of these programs on the TV and which were viewed by majority of the youths had an influence on the youths. The study postulated that this was likely to influence adolescent more than the grown up because they could not differentiate the kind of message the latent meaning in the message. A unit of analysis that was carried out by Hazan and Glantz in 1995 found out the there was increased influence on the use of alcohol which has been attributed to the increased advertisement of alcohol and other substances in the prime time fictional television.
This study showed the increased appearance of alcohol and other drug related messages during the prime time fictional television news had and overall effect of increasing the rate of consumption of these drugs among the youths. The study found out that about 24 programs which were aired during the time of the study contained alcohol and tobacco events at least in every program that was aired every day. More that 982 percent of these program were pro-tobacco or pro alcohol while only 8 percent were anti-smoking or anti drinking.
In terms of evaluation of these effects on the viewers, the study recognized that more than 52 percent the viewers most in the youth category aged 13-24 were positively influenced by the massages. Most of them responded that the fact that there was more drinking and smoking in the television compared to the real life promoted them to adopt the practices. The study also found out that there were higher status characters that were likely to smoke compared to low status characters. This means that most of those who smoked in the TV were celebrities who were likely to have a lot of influence on the youths.
The high rate of smoking appearing on the television and the fact that mot of it was found among high caliber people influenced the youths to smoke. A study which was carried out by Chan, et al, (2005) found out that there was a great influence of alcohol on the youth. The study which sought to identify the response of the young people to alcohol advertisement showed the underage youth were more drawn to music, animal and other character and which are related to alcohol advertisement.
This study which was carried out among the youths in a high school identified the particular influence of the inclusion of pop music and other popular films on their overall behavior to drinking. The study found out that the advertisement which were liked by the youths had the potential of eliciting response from majority of the youths and they are likely to purchase these brands which are advertisements.
However the study also identified that most of the leading advertisement which influenced the youths more positively used animal character like lions, elephant which are likely to be associated with strength and fame among the youths. A recent review of the neuroscience which looked at the psychology in marketing literatures found out that most of the adolescents due to the brain development changes that they undergo are likely to be attracted to particular brands which are famous.
Most of these brands are particularly associated with risky behaviors and are also likely to elicit immediate gratification, thrills and may even raise the social status of those who are associated with drinking. The study by Pechmann (2005) identified the impulsive and self conscious and it looked at the vulnerability to the advertisement and promotion. This study like several other which had been carried out before identified that youths were particularly prone to risk advertisement.
Those advertisements which showed increased appeal for the youths and were related to increased use of alcohol were likely to elicit increased alcohol purchases among the youths. Fleming (2004) looked into alcohol advertising exposure and perception and its influence on the youths found out that a high exposure to alcohol advertising in most cases shapes attitudes and the their perception about the use of alcohol among the young people. This study defined young people as those who were aged 15 to 20 years and the young adults were aged 21 to 29.
However the study identified that these attitudes and perception predicted the way young people identified their positive expectancies and their intentions and encouraged them to drink. However this influence was found to be lower among the young adults compared to the youths. This study found out that the youths changed their perception about drinking and other substances according to what they were hearing from the advertisements. They are likely to drink more with the increased exposure to advertisement which have alcohols messages. There are many other studies which were can review here which gives the same results.
These studies contain important information which shows that there is a high rate of influence of advertisement on the youths and the change of their behaviors in consumption of alcohol. The youths are more prone to advertisement and they are not likely to differentiate the advertisements which give more positive messages and which give more negative messages. Unlike the grown up who have a more rational thinking process where they can identify the meaning in the advertisements and differential the effects the youths are more prone to the influence of advertisements on their behaviors.
These studies depicts that medial influences is the single most factor which is influencing most of the youths to consume alcohol. Like advertisement, pop music and popular videos have also been found to have a lot of influence on the youths. They have been found to have a lot of influence same s the TV and Radio commercial. Pop music and popular videos have multiple influences because they usually include alcohol and cigarette messages and they are also related to celebrities who have a lot of following among the youths.
Conclusion The problem of alcohol abuse continues to be one of the most debatable issues in the world. This debate has taken many dimensions including the failing society to act on the problem, the factor of alcohol seller and the easy access to alcohol by the under aged, and many other factor. But the factor of alcohol advertisement has remained a thorny issue in the debate with many studies replicating that increased exposure of the youths to alcohol advertisement has an effect of increasing the overall use of alcohol.