Abstract: Gerbner and Gross’s cultivation theory predicts that prolonged exposure to TV violence creates fear of crime, symptomatic of a mean world syndrome. We tested the theory’s prediction in a time series model with annual changes in violence portrayal on popular US TV shows from 1972 to 2010 as a predictor of changes in public perceptions of local crime rates and fear of crime. We found that contrary to the prediction that TV violence would affect perceptions of crime rates, TV violence directly predicted fear of crime holding constant national crime rates and perceptions of crime rates. National crime rates predicted fear of crime but only as mediated by perceptions of local crime rates. The findings support an interpretation of cultivation theory that TV drama transports viewers into a fictive world that creates fear of crime but without changing perceptions of a mean world.
TV tobacco portrayal has trended downward since 1955 in line with the historical trend in cigarette consumption. Controlling for changes in cigarette prices and other factors, annual changes of one tobacco instance per episode hour across two years of programming were associated with annual change of 38.5 cigarettes per U.S. adult. The decline in TV tobacco portrayal was associated with nearly half of the effect of increases in cigarette prices over the study period.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent to which movies popular with adolescents feature characters who jointly engage in violence and other risk behaviors. We hypothesized that violent characters engage in other risk behaviors equally often in films rated appropriate for children over 12 (PG-13) and Restricted (R)-rated films. METHODS: Content analysis of…
Results found that violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and gun violence in PG-13–rated films has more than tripled since 1985. When the PG-13 rating was introduced, these films contained about as much gun violence as G (general audiences) and PG (parental guidance suggested for young children) films. Since 2009, PG-13–rated films have contained as much or more violence as R-rated films (age 171) films.
Research conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center has found that the mean amount of suicidal behavior content has increased linearly in 855 top 30 films from 1950-2006. Movies rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America had 5 times more highly explicit suicide behavior portrayals than did G/PG films from (1968-1984). However, highly explicit suicidal behavior content was not significantly different between PG-13 and R rated films (1985-2006). Suicidal behavior portrayal was defined as actions in which a character had the “option of living but attempted or completed the taking of his/her life.”
A recent book, Suicide Movies: Social Patterns, 1900-2009 (Stack & Bowman 2011) analyzes over 1,377 cinematic suicides appearing in American feature films over 110 years, from 1900-2009. Letting the films speak for themselves, the authors identify seven components of the American cultural definition of suicide. These cultural constructs are the seven recurrent causes of suicide (e.g., economic strain, social strains, psychiatric morbidity). The films stress factors external to the individual, the same general set of social causes stressed in Emile Durkheim’s sociological classic Suicide (1897).
Research conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center has found that the presence of tobacco-related content in 855 top-30 grossing box-office films, 15 movies per year from 1950-2006, has dramatically declined in parallel with actual cigarette consumption in the United States from the 1960s to 2006. In this study tobacco portrayal was defined as “The portrayal of anything tobacco-related, including smoking ads, logos, or paraphernalia, as well as implied or direct tobacco consumption” per five-minute segment.
Research conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center has found that the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA’s) rating system increasingly has assigned violent content to the PG-13 rating category. The PG-13 category was established in 1984 to warn parents about content in PG films that might not be appropriate for a child under 13. Instead of shielding young people from such content however, the research found that some content that previously would have received a restrictive R-rating is now assigned a PG-13 rating.
A new “Methods Section” has been added that includes some background to our recruitment and training procedure. You will also find a description of our survey instrument as well as an example of one of the surveys used. You can find the link to the Methods section in the upper…