NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Does Television Incite Violent Behavior?

April 7, 2003

Does TV engender violence? An unusual longitudinal study has strengthened the case that children who watch violent TV become more aggressive adults.

Researchers who studied 557 young Chicago children in the 1970s found that over a three-year period their TV habits predicted childhood aggression. A 15-year follow-up of the same 329 subjects has found:

  • People who watch violent shows at age 8 were more aggressive in their 20s.
  • Men who had been in the top 20 percent of violent TV watchers as children were twice as likely to push their wives around; women viewers were more likely to have thrown something at their husbands.
  • The differences persisted, according to researchers, even after controlling for children's initial aggression levels, intelligence, social status and bad parenting.

Source: "More on TV Violence," March 21, 2003, Vol. 299, No. 5614, Science.


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