The study followed a group of around 1000 children born in the New Zealand city of Dunedin in 1972-73. Every two years between the ages of 5 and 15, they were asked how much television they watched. Those who watched more television were more likely to have a criminal conviction and were also more likely to have antisocial personality traits in adulthood.
Study co-author Associate Professor Bob Hancox of the University's Department of Preventive and Social Medicine says he and colleagues found that the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30% with every hour that children spent watching TV on an average weeknight.
The study also found that watching more television in childhood was associated, in adulthood, with aggressive personality traits, an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, and an increased risk of antisocial personality disorder; a psychiatric disorder characterised by persistent patterns of aggressive and antisocial behaviour.
The researchers found that the relationship between TV viewing and antisocial behaviour was not explained by socio-economic status, aggressive or antisocial behaviour in early childhood, or parenting factors.
A study co-author, Lindsay Robertson, says it is not that children who were already antisocial watched more television. "Rather, children who watched a lot of television were likely to go on to manifest antisocial behaviour and personality traits."
Other studies have suggested a link between television viewing and antisocial behaviour, though very few have been able to demonstrate a cause-and-effect sequence. This is the first 'real-life' study that has asked about TV viewing throughout the whole childhood period, and has looked at a range of antisocial outcomes in adulthood. As an observational study, it cannot prove that watching too much television caused the antisocial outcomes, but the findings are consistent with most of the research and provides further evidence that excessive television can have long-term consequences for behaviour.
"Antisocial behaviour is a major problem for society. While we're not saying that television causes all antisocial behaviour, our findings do suggest that reducing TV viewing could go some way towards reducing rates of antisocial behaviour in society," says Associate Professor Hancox.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should watch no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality television programming each day. The researchers say their findings support the idea that parents should try to limit their children's television use.
This research emerges from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. The Study is run by the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, which is supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
Bob Hancox | EurekAlert!
Thickness of grey matter predicts ability to recognize faces and objects
10.11.2015 | Vanderbilt University
Intergenerational cohesion in Europe is strong
04.11.2015 | Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, München
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences