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Early drinking correlated with R-rated movies

April 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Children who watch R-rated movies may start drinking at an early age, according to researchers at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.The author of the study said the results highlight how important it is for parents to monitor their children's movie watching.

Dr. James D. Sargent, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School, said depictions of alcohol consumption appear in about 90 percent of R-rated movies.

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."