Substance Use References in the Lyrics of Favorite Songs of African-American Adolescents
Abstract -- National studies indicate that drug use continues to be a problem facing adolescents living in the United States (e.g., the Monitoring the Future Study). A wide range of factors have been linked with drug use, including family, peer, and individual factors (Hawkins, Catalano & Miller 1992). In addition, concerns have been raised regarding the effect of media messages on health risk behaviors, particularly given that media with explicit content are often marketed toward adolescents under the age of 18 (Federal Trade Commission 2000). The goal of this study was to investigate the extent to which drug-related references were present in popular songs nominated by a sample of African-American adolescents. To address this issue, secondary data analyses were performed using data originally collected by the Reaching Adolescents, Parents, and Peers project (Project RAPP). In the spring of 1997, participants reported their five favorite songs. Songs that were nominated five or more times by the sample (popular songs) were coded for genre and drug-related content. Of the 93 popular songs, the most popular genres were R&B (34%), gangsta rap (32%), and non-gangsta rap (27%). The majority of rap (68%) and gangsta rap (80%) songs contained at least one reference to illicit drugs, whereas few R & B songs did (6%). Marijuana and stimulants were the most commonly referred to drugs. These findings substantiate the need for more research on the potential relationship between exposure to media messages and drug use among adolescents.
9, 10, 11, 12, Adult/Continuing education, Community College, Higher education
Music, Family Life, Mental/emotional Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Criminology, Current Events/issues, Human Behavior, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Urban Studies, General Science
Journal of Young Investigators