HEALTHY LIVING
04/11/2014 11:02 am ET Updated Apr 11, 2014

Knowing Alcohol Brand References In Songs Linked With Teen Alcohol Consumption

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"Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of ______."

"But every song's like gold teeth, ______ ______, trippin' in the bathroom."

"Stacks on deck, ______ on ice, And we can pop bottles all night, baby, you could have whatever you like."

Can you fill in the blanks with the correct alcohol brands? A new study shows that teens and young adults who remember alcohol brands in songs are more likely to have had an alcoholic drink or participated in binge drinking.

"Every year, the average adolescent is exposed to about 3,000 references to alcohol brands while listening to music," study researcher Dr. Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and pediatrics and director of the Program for Research on Media and Health at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a statement. "It is important that we understand the impact of these references to alcohol brands in an age group that can be negatively impacted by alcohol consumption."

For the study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers surveyed 2,541 teens and young adults ages 15 to 23 on their liking and/or owning of popular songs that contain alcohol brand references, as well as their their ability to recall the brands referenced in the songs. Researchers surveyed the teens and young adults on their alcohol intake, including whether they'd ever had a complete drink, whether they'd ever participated in binge drinking, whether they binge-drink on a monthly basis (or more), and whether they'd ever experienced problems related to alcohol use.

The researchers found an association between being able to identify alcohol brands in songs and alcohol consumption. Specifically, people who could correctly identify at least one alcohol brand in a song had a doubled odds of having ever had a complete drink compared with those who couldn't even identify one alcohol brand in a song.

There was also an association between ability to identify alcohol brand in the songs and having ever participated in binge drinking, though researchers did not find such associations for bingeing monthly or alcohol abuse.

"A surprising result of our analysis was that the association between recalling alcohol brands in popular music and alcohol drinking in adolescents was as strong as the influence of parental and peer drinking, and an adolescent's tendency toward sensation-seeking," Primack said in the statement. "This may illustrate the value that this age group places in the perceived opinions and actions of music stars."

The Distilled Spirits Council released a statement regarding the study, pointing out "that the overwhelming instances of brand-name references in song lyrics are not solicited or paid for by alcohol companies."

These days, it's almost harder to think of a song that doesn't reference alcohol in the lyrics. A study published last year in the same journal showed that Grey Goose vodka, Patron tequila, Hennessy cognac and Jack Daniel's whisky had the most references in popular songs from 2009 to 2011. Rap was the music genre with the most alcohol references, that study showed.

This piece was updated to include comment from the Distilled Spirits Council.

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