Monday, December 9, 2013

Violent Characters in Popular Movies and Their Other Concerning Risk-Taking Behaviors

Photo by Nemo via Pixabay
Recently we published a study showing the high prevalence of gun violence in popular grossing movies to be just as high in PG-13 as R-rated films (doi: peds.10.1542/2013-1600). But there’s now more bad news for you to think about exposure-wise when teens head for the movies—at least according to a most interesting study by Bleakley et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1922) that studied almost 400 top-grossing films from 1985 to 2010 to see if a character engaged in an act of violence also turned to sex, tobacco, or alcohol within the same 5 minutes of film footage.

Sadly, what you surmise is proven true the vast majority of the time with once again PG-13 and R films showing no differences in the number of co-occurrences between violence and other risk-taking behaviors. Clustering these activities so closely together makes one wonder what this does to the minds of our adolescents, let alone our own brains watching these violent films?

We welcome your comments via your responses below or via our social media or eLetter sites. Perhaps what you see on screen does not suggest similar behaviors in real life—although there are a number of studies looking at teen behaviors after watching characters smoke or drink on screen that would make you think otherwise.

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