Objective: We examined how household factors that mediate television access are associated with screen time (television, videos, movies, and computer and video games), reading, and homework.
Methods: We conducted a self-report survey among 1197 sixth and seventh graders in 10 middle schools in 4 Boston-area communities in 1995. To assess independent associations, SUDAAN linear regressions were calculated to control for respondent characteristics and household access and to account for clustered sampling in the school-based design.
Results: Total viewing (television, videos, movies, and computer and video games) averaged 3.35 plus minus 2.2 hours per day. In multivariate regressions, independent direct associations with total viewing were observed for the following categories: youth has a television in the bedroom: 0.64 hours per day (P <.001), never/seldom has family dinners: 0.55 hours (P <.01); no parental limits on television time: 0.48 hours (P <.01); and each additional television outside the youth's bedroom, 0.12 hours (P <.05). Similar results held when television/video/movie use was examined separately from computer/video game use. Youth reported an average of 1.6 plus minus 1.1 hours of reading and homework per day. Parental limits on television time were associated with 0.21 hours more reading per day (P <.01), whereas a television in the bedroom was associated with 0.18 hours less (P <.01).
Conclusions: Reducing intrahousehold television access may enhance clinical, school, and community strategies to reduce youth television viewing and other screen time.