Role of Media in Addiction

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Research into film representation of addictions:

Sulkunen: Collected 140 scenes representing various addictions from 47 films and found that film about drug-users showed scenes of the enjoyment of the effects of drugs. The use of drugs was also shown as a way of overcoming problems.

Gunasekera et al: reviewed 87 of the most popular films in the last 20 years for their portrayal of sex and drug use; and found that they tend to portray the use of drugs positively, without showing the negative consequences.Of the 53 episodes of sex, only one suggested use of a condom; only 1 in 4 films were free from negative health behaviours such as smoking and alcohol intoxication.

Evaluation (AO2)

Research support: a number of studies have documented the way addictions are represented in film media. Sargent and Hanewinkel tested whether adolescents exposure to smoking in movies influenced their intitation into smoking and found that individuals who hadn't smoked a year earlier, who were exposed to smoking in movies, had a higher chance of beginning smoking.

Refuting Evidence: Boyd argues that films frequently represent a negative consequences of drug and alcohol. In the US film makers are provided with script-to-screen advice about how to represent drug use and addiction.

Importance of


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