Researchers questioned nearly 3,600 middle school children in New England and followed up about two years later. Nearly a quarter of children who said they watched R-rated movies all the time tried alcohol without their parents knowing.
Researchers say among those students who were never allowed to watch R-rated movies, only 3 percent said they'd started drinking alcohol, compared with 19 percent, who were sometimes allowed to watch R-rated movies.
Researchers say the new findings add to previous studies that linked exposure to R-rated movies and shows with adult content to early drinking, early smoking, sex at a young age and violent behavior.
Sargent said previous studies have suggested that children who watch R-rated movies become prone to "sensation seeking" and "risk taking."