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New Study Says Listeners Of Rap Music More Prone To Substance Abuse

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Listeners of rap are

more likely to encounter problems with alcohol, drugs and violence than listeners

of other genres, according to a new study by the Pacific Institute for Research

and Evaluation’s (PIRE) Prevention Research Center.

More than 1,000

community college students, age 15-25, participated in the study, titled "Music,

Substance Use and Aggression." The students were questioned on their music

listening habits, alcohol use, illicit drug use and aggressive behaviors, such

as getting into fights and attacking or threatening others.

The results found

that rap was consistently associated with alcohol use, potential alcohol use

disorder, illicit drug use and aggressive behavior.

The study, published

in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, also found that

young people who listen to reggae and techno use more alcohol and illicit drugs

than listeners of other music, with the exception of rap.

Rap topped all

other genres in association to alcohol and drug use and aggression.

The results, which

were not affected by the respondents’ gender or ethnicity, should raise eyebrows,

said lead author Meng-Jinn Chen, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Center.

"People should

be concerned about rap and Hip-Hop being used to market alcoholic beverages,

given the alcohol, drug and aggression problems among listeners," Meng-Jinn

said. "That’s particularly true considering the popularity of rap and Hip-Hop

among young people."

Hip-Hop artists

have been featured in advertisements for malt liquor and other alcohol products,

while urban radio is regularly used for alcohol advertising.

Meng-Jinn added,

"While we don’t fully understand the relationship between music preferences

and behavioral outcomes, our study shows that young people may be influenced

by frequent exposure to music lyrics that make positive references to substance

abuse and violence."

Researchers emphasize

that the survey’s results can’t determine whether listening to certain genres

leads to alcohol or illicit drug use or aggressive behavior.

However, young

people with tendencies to use alcohol or illicit drugs or to be aggressive may

be drawn to particular music styles.

Recent studies

of popular music revealed that nearly half of rap/Hip-Hop songs mentioned alcohol,

compared to 10 percent or less of other popular genres.

Nearly two-thirds

of rap songs mentioned illicit drugs, compared with one-tenth of songs from

other genres. Rap and rock music videos depict violence twice as often as other

music genres.

AmericanBrandstand.com,

a web site that tracks the number of times products are mentioned in music,

reported that Hennessy was the highest ranking alcohol brand in 2005, ranking

sixth overall in a list of products mentioned by artists.

The brand was mentioned

44 times, nine more than Cristal, which ranked eighth.

The study was funded

by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which sponsors

the PIRE Prevention Research Center, a national nonprofit public health research

institute.

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