Lege Artis Medicinae

[The significance of media literacy in adolescent smoking and drinking]

PIKÓ Bettina1, BALÁZS Máté Ádám1, PAGE M. Randy2

FEBRUARY 20, 2010

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2010;20(02)

[INTRODUCTION - Media exerts a strong socialization effect on adolescents who are particularly susceptible to different messages in this life period. In the present study, therefore, we focused on adolescents’ media literacy. METHODS - 546 adolescents from Makó (Southern Hungary) were studied, including 288 (52.7%) grade 8 (age 13-15 years) and 258 (47.3%) grade 12 (age 17-19 years) students; 49.5% of the participants were male and 50.5% female. The survey covered sociodemographic variables, lifetime and monthly prevalence of smoking and drinking, attitudes related to substance use and media literacy. For the study of media literacy, we adapted a Medica Literacy Scale containing 31 items. After performing factor analysis, factors of media literacy were analyzed by two-sample t-tests according to sociodemographic variables and behaviour. RESULTS - Our results show that factors of media literacy are well differentiated according to sociodemographic variables and even more according to smoking and drinking behaviour. Girls and younger adolescents (among who substance use is less frequent) are more likely to notice the hidden messages of substance use that are shown in advertisements and movies, and the representation of the interests of the tobacco and alcohol industry in the media. Nonsmokers and nondrinkers are a lot more aware of the manipulation effects of the media. CONCLUSIONS - Our results draw attention to the significance of media literacy in the prevention of adolescent smoking and drinking.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar, Magatartástudományi Intézet
  2. Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA

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