August 7, 2008
The link between listening to pop music and later utilizing alcohol and drugs has been recognized for more than a generation. Syncopated rock and roll rhythms can suppress frontal lobe function. It can also lead individuals to participate in activities that they otherwise would not have, had the frontal lobe been more enhanced.
A study recently published by the American Medical Association (in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, February of 2008) strengthened the evidence of a connection, by showing that todayâ€™s hit songs often contain highly positive references to alcohol and drug use.
While 41.6% of the songs reviewed in the study contained references to drugs, a full 33% explicitly referred to substance use. The investigators also reported that 24% of the songs depicted alcohol use, 14% referred to marijuana use, 11% portrayed other substances, and 3% depicted tobacco usage. Rap songs had a 77% chance of referring to substance use in a positive way. Country music songs had a 36% chance of the same, while R & B hip-hop songs had a 20% chance.
Drug and alcohol use were frequently associated with partying, sex, violence, and/or humor, and the behavior was often motivated by pure social pressure. Most songs that mentioned drugs or alcohol portrayed positive social, sexual, financial or emotional consequences. Of the 279 most popular hits included in the study, only 4 songs contained any anti-use message and no song portrayed refusal of a substance.
Take-away point: What we listen to and observe can affect our behavior.
Topics: Health News