The effect of music on alcohol consumption

A Study on the Effects of Different Genres of Music on Alcohol Consumption Levels

Abstract

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Music is a heavily researched field and studies have shown that it may influence the way we behave as well as our emotions. Different forms or genres of music has been shown to affects us in different ways and often speed up or encourage certain forms of behavior. Alcohol and music are often paired together in bars, pubs and clubs and have been known to influence the amount of alcohol an individual consumes. The proposed study aims to highlight on how different genres of music, mainly classical, pop and rap influences the rate of alcohol consumption in a bar setting. This is carried out in the form of an experimental study involving young adults. The aims of the study also involves how music affects different genders and if questionnaires in the form of self-reported alcohol use and music preference and centrality are able to predict alcohol consumption behavior in a music conditioned bar setting. Since most studies in this field are carried out in the western context, this proposed study will explore such effects relating to the Asian context.

Introduction

Music is all around us in our daily lives and we are constantly exposed to it in commercial environments such as restaurants and stores (Engels, Poelen, Spijkerman & Ter Bogt, 2012). Various studies have shown that music is often times subtly used to influence our behavior and emotions (Engels et al., 2012). Music of faster tempo has been demonstrated to speed up certain behavior leading to faster food and drink consumption, a tactic often used in restaurants and food-outlets (Stafford & Dodd, 2013). There has also been evidence to suggest that music may have negative influences on the behavior of youth and young adults relating to substance abuse (Steglich, Snijders & West (2006).

Alcohol abuse is a dominant form of substance abuse that society currently faces (Engels, Hermans, Van Baaren, Hollenstein, & Bot, 2009). Based on Engles et al., (2009), alcohol abuse in youth comes about from various factors such as the media and even music. Certain music videos and lyrics in songs also promote and encourage youths to abuse alcohol and other substances (Engels, Slettenhaar, Ter Bogt, & Scholte, 2011). Hence when such music is played in bars or clubs it often times encourages young people to partake in binge drinking when they associate themselves to such music (Engels et al., 2011).

Studies on the influence of genre and types of music on alcohol consumption have come up with mixed results. Often times, lyrics in the rap and pop genre seem to suggest alcohol use and thus generate higher alcohol consumption. In the Western context, rap is predominantly seen as the avenue in which substance abuse is promoted (Engels et al., 2011). However in Engels et al.’s (2012) observational study results indicated that individuals exposed to classical music resulted in drinking more alcohol. It was however suggested that this could be a result of boredom with the music that led to individuals consuming more (Engels et al., 2012). In a study by Stafford and Dodd (2013) on women, a comparison was made between slow and fast tempo music and highlighted that women consumed a much larger amount of alcohol in faster music. Most of these studies have also been conducted in the western context and very little have been done to address that of current Asian contexts.

Although in current times, globalization has made western practices predominant in Asia, certain aspects of Asian culture may cause differences in music preference and even gender differences in relation to alcohol consumption. Therefore this proposed experiment which is similar in nature to that of Engels et al.’s (2012) would aim to identify if similar results are found in the Asian context.

The experiment aims to investigate the following research questions. Firstly, does the genre of background music affect the amount of alcohol an individual consumes? Secondly, is there a difference in the amount of alcohol consumed between males and females? Thirdly, is there an interplay of factors between gender and the genre of background music in affecting the amount of alcohol an individual consumes? Lastly, do self-reported alcohol use and music preference & centrality predict alcohol consumption levels in the bar and music conditioned setting.

There are four hypotheses that our research study aims to prove. Firstly, (H1) Pop music generates a higher amount of alcohol consumption in comparison to other genres. Secondly, (H2) males consume a higher amount of alcohol compared to females. Thirdly, (H3) the amount of alcohol an individual consumes is dependent on their gender and the genre background of background music. Lastly (H4) both self-reported alcohol use and music preference & centrality accurately predict alcohol consumption levels in the bar and music conditioned setting.

Method

Participants

Approximately 100 participants of Asian ethnicity with an age range of 18-30 will be recruited for the study with ideally an equal amount of males and females. Participants are divided into 4 groups for each of the music genre with approximately 25 people in each group and an equal gender mix. Participants will be recruited from local universities through fliers and requests from emails. Participants will also be given a monetary compensation of $20 Singapore Dollars after the experiment and are encouraged to recruit friends to join them so as to better simulate social interactions in a bar setting.

Research Design

This study can be considered a 2 (Gender of Participant) X 4 (Genre of Background Music) Factorial design as there is two independent variables. The gender of the participants has two levels, male and female and the genre of background music has four levels, classical, rap, pop and no music. The dependent variable is the amount of alcohol consumed in each of the 4 different stimulus of background music. The no music group would act as a control.

2 questionnaires relating to self-reported alcohol use and music preference will act as predictors to examine the relationship to amount of alcohol consumed in the bar setting in each background music condition.

Instrumentation & Measures

Equipment

This session will be conducted in a laboratory or a room that is made to resemble a typical bar or pub setting with a bar counter, a bartender, sufficient tables and chairs, music being channeled through speakers and other relevant bar related equipment. Audio and video recording devices will be required. An observation room will also be required to monitor recording devices.

Observed Drinking Levels

The amount of drinks a participant drank were observed and recorded on video by experimenters. Participants were served either a pint of beer containing 14 grams of alcohol a glass of wine containing 14 grams of alcohol or spirits either vodka, gin or whiskey with a choice of mixer at 11 grams of alcohol.

Self-Reported Alcohol Use

A questionnaire using a 5 point Likert scale is created to assess the general alcohol consumption level, if any, of the individual in their lifestyle. Factors such as amount of alcohol a participant generally consumes, binge drinking activities and severity of any alcohol abuse are covered Cornel, Knibbe, van Zutphen, and Drop (1994). Scores are summed up..

Music Preference & Centrality

A questionnaire using a 5 point Likert scale is created to assess participants on the extent to which they prefer a particular music genre (Ter Bogt, Raaijmakers, Vollebergh, Van Wel,

& Sikkema, 2003).For the purposes of this experiment it was limited to classical, rap and pop. The questionnaire also assesses the importance that music has to the individual and includes questions that pertain to how music influences them. Scores are summed up.

Procedure

Participants will be asked to take part in an experiment involving a drinking session which will take approximately one and a half hours to complete. Participants are only informed that the experiment involves a study on social interactions in a bar setting and are unaware of the true agenda of monitoring their alcohol consumption in relation to the background music. Before the session begins, participants are asked to complete questionnaires pertaining to self-reported alcohol use and music preference. Participants will be informed that their interactions will be audio and video recorded and also that these recordings will only be used for research purposes. Participants are also told to fill out a consent form and are also informed that they would receive a monetary compensation of $20 Singapore Dollars for their participation and are advised not to drive and would be sent home by a taxi.. Participants are also informed that they may choose to leave at any time should they feel unwell or unable to continue.

Participants are invited to be seated and encouraged to interact with each other. They are informed that they are able to order drinks of their choice, either beer, wine or spirits (vodka, gin, whiskey) from the bartender. Two experimenters will be strategically placed in proximity and allocated tables to observe and record the amount of drinks participants are having. One experimenter will be in the observation room to monitor recording devices and equipment. The experimenters and bartender are told to have minimal contact with the participants so as not to influence the amount of alcohol they consume. As soon as participants have settled in, a particular genre of music, either classical, rap, pop or no music (control group) will be played by the experimenter from the observation room and channeled to the bar. Experimenters will begin recording the amount of drinks consumed based on pints of beer, glasses of wine and spirits consumed.

At the end of the session, participants are given their monetary compensation and told that debriefing will take place at a separate time once all groups have completed with the experiment. At debriefing, participants are informed of the true agenda and aims of the study.

Analyses and Results

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21.0 will be used to analyze data collected in this study. Any missing data that is present will be taken into account to prevent irregularities in our results.

A factorial between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be used to compare the amount of alcohol consumed in a background music setting of different genres of four groups of participants: (a) amount of alcohol consumed by male and female participants in the classical background genre (b) amount of alcohol consumed by male female participants in the rap background genre (c) amount of alcohol consumed by male female participants in the pop background genre (d) amount of alcohol consumed by male and female participants in the no music background.

Shapiro Wilk and Levene’s tests will be used to evaluate if the assumptions of normality and homogeneity are met respectively. The mean scores of each of these groups will be compared to see the difference in amount of alcohol consumed in each genre of music and between each gender. Whether a main effect of gender or of background music genre is significant can be determined. Whether there is a significant interaction of both these effects can also be determined. If interaction effects are significant a simple effects analysis will need to be carried out.

A multiple regression analysis will be performed to test whether self-reported alcohol consumption and music preference predicted alcohol consumption in the music conditioned bar setting. Assumptions such as normality, linearity, homoscedasticity of residuals, multicollinearity and outliers using Mahalanobis distance will be tested and checked to see if they are met. The size of the overall relationship between alcohol consumption in the music conditioned bar setting (the predicted variable) and the independent variables of self-reported alcohol consumption and music preference can be determined. How much each independent (predictor) variable uniquely contributed to that relationship can also be determined.

Conclusion & Limitations

If (H1) (H2) & (H3) is proven, it can be said that results obtained in this study differs to that of past studies which were done in a western context. We could make an inference that pop music is generally more popular in the Asian context as compared to that of rap. It could also be said that Asian males are more prone to drinking more than females in the given circumstances in comparison to results obtain from gender comparisons in Westerners. If (H4) is proven, it would justify the accuracy of such questionnaires in relating music preference & centrality and self-reported alcohol use to how individuals consume alcohol given similar settings. If these findings were proven, researchers looking into aspects of alcohol and substance abuse could be better informed on the diversity and causes of such issues in the Asian context.

A key limitation to the study is that it is challenging to implement a form of monetary exchange to explore how money plays a part in alcohol consumption. In Engels et al., (2012) monetary exchange was not a factor included in the study as prices of alcohol beverages were relatively low in European countries and would not affect the study. Alcohol prices in Singapore is rather high and may influence alcohol consumption.

References

Cornel, M., Knibbe, R. A., van Zutphen, W. M., & Drop, M. J. (1994). Problem drinking in a

general practice population: The construction of an interval scale for severity of problem

drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 55, 466–470.

Engels, R. C., Hermans, R., Van Baaren, R. B., Hollenstein, T., & Bot, S. M. (2009). Alcohol

portrayal on television affects actual drinking behaviour.Alcohol and Alcoholism,44(3),

244-249. Retrieved from: http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/44/3/244.long

Engels, R. C., Slettenhaar, G., Ter Bogt, T., & Scholte, R. H. (2011). Effect of alcohol references

in music on alcohol consumption in public drinking places.The American Journal on

Addictions,20(6), 530-534. Retrieved from:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.elibrary.jcu.edu.au/doi/10.1111/j.1521-

0391.2011.00182.x/pdf

Engels, R. C., Poelen, E. A., Spijkerman, R., & Ter Bogt, T. (2012). The effects of music genre

on young people’s alcohol consumption: An experimental observational

study.Substance use & misuse,47(2), 180-188. Retrieved from:

http://www.biblioteca.cij.gob.mx/Archivos/Materiales_de_consulta/Drogas_de_Abuso/H

olanda/Articulos/70134118.pdf

Stafford, L. D., & Dodd, H. (2013). Music increases alcohol consumption rate in young

females.Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology,21(5), 408.

References

Steglich, C., Snijders, T. A., & West, P. (2006). Applying SIENA: An Illustrative Analysis of the

Coevolution of Adolescents’ Friendship Networks, Taste in Music, and Alcohol

Consumption.Methodology: European Journal of Research Methods for the Behavioral

and Social Sciences,2(1), 48.

Ter Bogt, T., Raaijmakers, Q., Vollebergh, W., Van Wel, F., & Sikkema, P. (2003). Youngsters

and their musical taste. Musical styles and taste groups. Netherlands’ Journal of Social

Sciences, 39, 35–52.

Appendix A

Self-Reported Alcohol Use

Gender: M/F Age: _________

The following statements are in relation to alcohol use. Please rank the statements according to how important the criteria stated is, to you, (1=Not like me, 2= Slightly like me, 3=Neutral, 4= Somewhat like me, 5= Exactly like me)

1. I rarely have alcoholic beverages

12345

2. I feel a need to drink alcoholic beverages frequently

12345

3. In one serving, I drink up to 6 serving of alcoholic beverages

12345

4. I get heavily intoxicated most of the time when I drink

12345

5. I have had issues with alcoholic abuse

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6. I am able to control the amount of alcohol I take to prevent heavy intoxication

12345

7. I find it difficult to stop drinking once I get started

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8. I often end up drinking a lot due to pressure from friends

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9. Without alcohol my life would be very boring

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10. I tend to drink a lot of alcohol when I am depressed

12345

11. I drink alcohol when I am bored

12345

12. Alcohol provides me with comfort in difficult times

12345

Appendix B

Music Preference & Centrality

Circle the genre of music that you prefer from the following.

Classical/ Pop/ Rap

The following statements are in relation to your music preference. Please rank the statements according to how important the criteria stated is, to you, (1=Not like me, 2= Slightly like me, 3=Neutral, 4= Somewhat like me, 5= Exactly like me)

1. I cannot live without music

12345

2. Music is important to making me feel good

12345

3. I influence my friends with my taste in music

12345

4. I am always looking for new music

12345

5. I talk a lot about music with my friends

12345

6. I know more about music than my peers

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7. I listen to music everyday

12345

8. My friends have similar music taste to me

12345

9. Music motivates me to carry out daily tasks

12345

10. Without music I would feel empty

12345

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