Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cinema’s Portrayal of Gun Violence

Regardless of where you stand on gun control, we are all exposed to gun use in mass media. To prove this point, Bushman et al. (doi: peds.10.1542/2013-1600) opted to look at the presence of violence, and in particular gun violence, in films over a span of more than 60 years.

Photo by ToastyKen via Flickr
The results will trouble you—gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled since the rating was first developed in 1985 and is as prevalent now as the amount of violence in R-rated films. Since violent films have been associated with an increased risk of aggressive behaviors, and they are omnipresent through theaters, television, and Internet—then clearly the implications of this study speak for themselves.

But if you need even more powerful and disturbing comparisons of growing scenes of violence across decades, then screen this study carefully and in turn share it with your patients and their families so they are aware of the powerful influence the media may have on violence in our society.

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