In the study, the Dartmouth team examined viewing patterns tabulated in a national telephone survey of more than 6,500 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 14. The survey was conducted in 2003.
In the poll, the researchers focused on viewings of 40 of the most violent movies from among 534 of the most recent releases at the time. Some of these films included depictions of physical beating and torture.
All 40 movies, including Gangs of New York, Blade, Training Day, and the list's most popular feature, Scary Movie, were rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America and UK18 by the British Board of Film Classification.
The survey found that boys, older teens, minorities (particularly black children), kids from lower economic backgrounds, those with relatively bad grades in school, and those whose parents had lower educational achievement were more likely to be exposed to extreme violence in movies.
Adolescents with particularly high exposure to violent cinema were more likely to have a TV in their bedroom and to indicate that their parents let them watch R-rated features.
Dr. Christopher P. Lucas, director of New York University's adolescent health promotion and suicide prevention program ("STEPS") at the university's Child Study Center in New York City, agreed that adolescent access to violence-laden film has broadened significantly in recent years. However, he disputed the notion that the research to date has confirmed a solid relationship between adolescent exposure to cinematic violence and aberrant behavior.
"There's quite a lot of validity to what these researchers are saying," he said. "Children are definitely
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