Media Effects on Social Groups Essay example

1835 Words Jul 17th, 2006 8 Pages
Drinking in college is portrayed in the media as a social norm and heavily encouraged by advertisements such as commercials directed at students, flyers dispersed throughout campuses, and even coupons for local bars found in student newspapers. Given that alcohol consumption is known to increase throughout adolescence and climax in late adolescence or emerging adulthood, heavy episodic alcohol use among college students makes this period crucially important to the etiology of adult alcohol abuse (Shim 2005).
The decision-making perspective suggests that adolescents make rational, goal-oriented decisions to drink, decisions that occur in a series of steps involving the identification and assessment of the desirability and the likelihood of
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Increased identification with reference groups, such as the models portrayed in advertisements, can lead to changes in social reality construction or behavior, because identification tends to lead to the expectation that doing something consistent with that seen in the media will bring positive results. These beliefs, called expectancies, strongly and consistently predict behavior (Austin 2002).
College students today are bombarded with mediated messages to consume alcoholic beverages. These messages help to create an image of a social norm that may or may not be consistent with the actual values of college students. The more strongly students endorsed self-actualizing values, such as having a sense of accomplishment and self-respect, the less favorable were their attitudes toward both physical and psychological, alcohol-related consequences (Shim 2005).
The "social norm approach" has been the basis of several research studies in regards to problem of college alcohol consumption. Studies suggest that drinking among college students stems from several factors including peer pressure and easy access to alcohol, as well as influence by media and perceived social norms.
Social norm media campaigns, for example, may have been particularly effective because these media campaigns made more salient subjects' correct conceptions about college students' alcohol consumption. Social norm marketing campaigns are designed to decrease the pressure to…

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