MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Daniel Romer, PhD
Annenberg Public Policy Center
University of Pennsylvania
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We have been studying trends in health compromising behaviors in popular films that were released since 1950, and in 2013 we reported that films rated PG-13 had just passed the rate of portrayed gun violence shown in popular R-rated films in 2012. In this report, we updated the trends in gun violence through 2015 and found that the trend has continued. In addition, we noted the strong contribution to this trend of films with comic book heroes whose heavy use of guns omits the harmful and otherwise realistic consequences of blood and suffering.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Hollywood is increasingly producing films that manage to obtain the PG-13 rating even though they portray more violence than R-rated films. It is also concerning that the violence shown in these films models the use of weapons that many children might have access to at home or elsewhere. The PG-13 rating allows children of any age to view them. We do not have research that demonstrates the potential harms of this exposure, but with a gun injury rate that far exceeds that of other countries and with research showing the influence on some adolescents of films that portray other risky behaviors without any consequences, such as smoking and drinking, we think the movie ratings board should consider a stricter standard in rating such films.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We think there should be more research on the effects of gun use in films and video games. A recent paper in JAMA highlighted the disproportionately low amount of research funding allocated to studies of gun use compared to other health hazards of comparable impact, such as motor vehicle crashes and hypertension.
Disclosures: We have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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