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Journal Article


Donovan RJ, Fielder L, Donovan P, Handley C. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2009; 28(3): 257-262.


(Copyright © 2009, John Wiley and Sons)






Introduction and Aims. A number of studies have looked at the incidence and nature of depictions of alcohol in various media, primarily in movies, television and magazines. However, there have been few studies of depictions of alcohol in comic strips in newspapers. Design and Methods. This study analysed the content of the five comic strips in the 258 weekday editions of a metropolitan newspaper over a period of 1 year. Where alcohol was depicted, this was classified as either integral or incidental to the theme or story of that day's strip. As an indication of the nature of the depiction and in the absence of specific codes for the depiction of alcohol in comic strips, depictions were assessed against the Australian Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC). Results. Of the 1 290 individual comic strips, 4% (n = 54) depicted alcohol. Depictions were equal in number incidental and integral to the 'story'. Over half of the strips depicting alcohol were deemed to breach the ABAC, with the most common breach related to trivialisation of alcohol consumption. One strip accounted for over 60% of all depictions with the majority breaching the ABAC. Discussion and Conclusions. These results suggest that newspaper publishers should consider a code for depictions of alcohol (and other unhealthy or risky products/behaviours) in comics. At the very least, comics that trivialise the abuse of alcohol should be excluded under such a code.[Donovan RJ, Fielder L, Donovan P, Handley C. Is trivialisation of alcohol consumption a laughing matter? Alcohol incidence in a metropolitan daily newspaper's comic strips. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009]


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