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Study Affirms Link Between Behavior, Violent TV Shows

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Most research conducted over the past decade supports the contention that televised violence does lead to aggressive behavior in children, according to a 10-year review of such studies released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services. (See Education Week, September 7, 1981.)

The report is an update of the U.S. Surgeon General's 1972 report on televised violence, which suggested that such a link existed. Entitled "Television and Behavior," the report prepared by the National Institute of Mental Health, says that the majority of studies conducted during the decade support the link between television violence and aggression, although there are some researchers who disagree with that conclusion.

About 80 percent of all research on the subject of children and television has taken place since the publication of the 1972 report, according to Eli A. Rubinstein, principal author of that report.

And during this period of heightened interest, the range of topics studied has greatly expanded, Mr. Rubinstein said. Researchers now realize that television affects children's perceptions and thinking patterns in a number of ways.

The updated report also contains summaries of research in such areas as the effect of television on developing emotions and viewers' health practices, and the history of TV violence.

The report also notes that:

The percentage of programs involving violence has remained essentially the same during the past decade, but there has been more violence on children's weekend programs than on prime-time television.

The effect of television on children's academic performance and intelligence is still unclear.

A summary of the report (order #017-024-01129-1) is available for $5 (prepaid) from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.--A.H.

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