Viewing preferences, symptoms of psychological trauma, and violent behaviors among children who watch television

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1998 Oct;37(10):1041-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199810000-00014.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the extent to which children's television-viewing practices are associated with symptoms of psychological trauma and aggressive behaviors. The following three hypotheses were tested: (1) children who report watching greater amounts of television per day will report higher levels of trauma symptoms than children who report lesser amounts of television viewing; (2) children who report watching greater amounts of television per day will report higher levels of violent behaviors than children who report watching lesser amounts of television per day; and (3) children who report a preference for action and fighting programs will report higher levels of violent behaviors than children who report a preference for other types of television programs.

Method: The study used a survey design in which an anonymous self-report questionnaire was administered to students in grades 3 through 8 in 11 Ohio public schools during the 1995-1996 school year (N = 2,245).

Results: All three hypotheses were supported.

Conclusion: Heavy television viewing by children may indicate the presence of problems such as depression, anxiety, and violent behaviors; such viewing should be screened for by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals working with children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ohio
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Television*
  • Violence / psychology*