Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 21 Issue 16 (August 1991), Pages 1293-1378

Health‐Relevant Behaviors in Media (pages 1303-1319)

The content of the past decade's (1977–1988) most popular films is analyzed for trends in portrayals of multiple health practices (cigarette smoking, over‐the‐counter or prescription drug use, illegal drug use. alcohol consumption, leisure‐time physical activity, and poor eating habits) as well as model characteristics and consequences associated with health‐related lifestyle. The results reveal a recent upsurge in depictions of several risky habits, yet few portrayals of direct adverse consequences. There was a particular tendency for males and minorities to be shown engaged in behaviors detrimental to their health. The social learning, public health, and social policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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