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Children's Entertainment

Article Index


  • Correlational Studies:

    The weight of evidence from correlational studies is fairly consistent: viewing and/or preference for violent television is related to aggressive attitudes, values and behaviours. This result was true for the studies conducted when television was new, and the measures of children's aggression were teachers' ratings. It is still true for more recent studies when the measures of aggressiveness have become more sophisticated.

    To choose several studies as examples: Robinson and Bachman (1972) found a relationship between the number of hours of television viewed and adolescent self-reports of involvement in aggressive or antisocial behaviour. Atkin, Greenberg, Korzenny, and McDermott (1979) used a different measure of aggressive behaviour. They gave nine to thirteen-year-old boys and girls situations such as the following. Suppose that you are riding your bicycle down the street and some other child comes up and pushes you off your bicycle. What would you do? The response options included physical or verbal aggression along with options to reduce or avoid conflict. These investigators found that physical or verbal aggressive responses were selected by 45 per cent of heavy-television-violence viewers compared to only 21 per cent of the light-violence viewers. In a further study, Sheehan (1983) followed two groups of Australian children, first and third-graders, for a three-year period. He found that for the older group, now third through fifth grade, both the overall amount of violence viewing and the intensity of viewing were significantly related to the child's level of aggressive behaviour as rated by their classmates. Finally, in a study focused on adults, Phillips (1983) investigated the effects of the portrayal of suicides in television soap operas on the suicide rate in the United States using death records compiled by the National Centre for Health Statistics. He found, over a six-year period, that whenever a major soap opera personality committed suicide on television, within three days there was a significant increase in the number of female suicides across the nation.

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