Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


William Tillinghast

Subject Areas

Mass Communications


Alcoholism is a problem in the United States. Television portrays individuals drinking alcohol. Is television influencing attitudes toward drinking? An experiment was performed with students from San Josè State University in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to discover if television would indeed influence them to drink.

Two groups, both Mass Communication classes, participated in an initial survey, and then the test group class viewed a dramatized program in which the main character was depicted drinking glamorously. Both classes then took the same survey again. Results were analyzed via a t-test. Although there was a change in attitude regarding two of the questions directly attributable to the program, the majority of the answers did not reflect any significant changes in attitude. The results of "I feel that TV police detectives serve as positive role models" (t (40) = -2.004, p = .046) showed a change as there was not as much support for TV police detectives in the initial survey. Regarding "Which television character is most likely to drink alcohol" (t (40) = 2.451, p = .009), the results were in favor of a businessman or businesswoman. Ironically the initial survey showed that the students thought that a police detective is most likely to drink.