MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We have been studying the steady increase in gun violence that has been occurring in popular PG-13 movies since the new rating was adopted in 1984. It has recently even surpassed the amount of gun violence in R-rated movies. Since these movies are open to the public at any age, we are concerned that they promote the use of guns and potentially socialize youth to believe that using guns to defend oneself is an appropriate way to handle threats and other conflicts.
We knew that the rating requires the omission of graphic consequences, such as blood and suffering, that can make the violence more acceptable. But we also wondered whether the motivation for the violence might make a difference as well. Many of the characters in PG-13 movies are seen as heroic (e.g., Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson). Could that also be a factor that makes such films more acceptable to parents despite their concerns about their children seeing so much violence in the movies. So, we conducted this experiment to see if parents are less upset by justified violence in PG-13 style movies. Continue reading