Winston-Salem, N.C. -- The frequency of adolescents viewing wrestling on TV was positively associated with date fighting and other violent behaviors, according to a study, published by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the August issue of Pediatrics.
"This study has tremendous implications," said Robert H. DuRant, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics and social science and health policy at Brenner Children's Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "It shows that exposure to this type of violence on television during this crucial period of time when a teen's cognitive, social and physical development is still being cemented can affect adolescents in a negative way."
The frequency of watching wrestling was highest among students who engaged in date fighting when either the victim or the perpetrator had been drinking alcohol or using drugs. The relationship between watching wrestling and date fighting persisted after adjusting for multiple other factors, according to the study.
"One of the more interesting things we learned while completing this research was that the relationship between watching wrestling on television and being the perpetrator of dating violence was stronger among females," DuRant said. "Also, our study results remained consistent, when examined longitudinally, over a six-to seven-month period."
Adolescents who watch wrestling on TV are exposed to a high frequency of violence between men and women, alcohol use and hearing women referred to in derogatory terms such as "bitch," according to the study. In addition, the scenarios played out in the TV dramas often present violence as a solution to a problem.
"The level of vulgar language, verbal abuse and physical abuse modeled, with unrealistic outcomes, is astonishing," DuRant said. "For example, during one wrestling match a man dangled a woman upside down and then dropped her
Contact: Rae Bush
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center