Alcohol, Illegal Drugs, Violent Crime, and Traffic-Related and Other Unintended Injuries in U.S. Local and National News

This article reports on a study undertaken to establish the extent to which media coverage acknowledges alcohol's contribution to violent crime, motor vehicle injuries, and other injury incidents. The authors used content analysis of a sample of local and national television news, local newspapers, and national magazines, randomly sampled during a 2-year period and approximating national representativeness. The authors compared their sample proportions to epidemiological estimates of alcohol-attributable fractions (AAFs), obtained from various sources including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Two of the three media types consistently showed a lower association between alcohol use and motor vehicle incidents, violent crimes, and other types of incidents that the epidemiological estimates would predict. Drug use was most likely to be mentioned in conjunction with violent crime stories and least likely to be mentioned in conjunction with other types of incidents. The authors also coded the data by how the news reports were framed, determining whether a positive or negative framing was used to present the story. Overall, results indicated that alcohol and drugs were mentioned in the context of violent crimes or unintended injury incidents at a generally low rate. The authors conclude that the underreporting in the United States of alcohol's contribution to serious and fatal injury may reduce the public perceptions of alcohol-related risks, potentially influencing behavior, including public support of alcohol-control policies.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Slater, Michael D
    • Long, Marilee
    • Ford, Valerie L
  • Publication Date: 2006-11


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 904-910
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01046706
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2007 9:18AM