Watching TV Violence as Child Can Lead to Adult Aggression

Boys and girls who watch a lot of violence on television have a heightened risk of aggressive adult behavior, including spousal abuse and criminal offenses, no matter how they act in childhood, a new study found.

The 329 participants were interviewed at ages 6 to 9 in the 1970s and again in their early twenties, making the study one of the few to follow children into adulthood to gauge the long-term effects of televised violence. Roadrunner cartoons, "Starsky and Hutch" and "The Six Million Dollar Man" were deemed especially violent.

As young adults, men in the study who had scored in the top 20 percent on childhood exposure were about twice as likely as other men to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their wives during an argument in the year preceding the interview. Women who had scored in the top 20 percent were about twice as likely as other women to have thrown something at their husbands.

Psychologist L. Rowell Huesmann at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research said televised violence suggests to young children that aggression is appropriate in some situations. It also erodes a natural aversion to violence, he said. He recommended that parents restrict viewing of violent TV and movies by young children and preteens as much as possible.

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-- From News Services