The Rise of Gun Violence in Popular US Primetime Television Dramas and Firearm Homicides


Many studies have been conducted investigating the association between gun violence in popular media and gun violence in reality; although some have suggested that there is little correlation between the two, this study featuring PISC Senior Scholar Dan Romer, PhD, challenges this notion. It asked whether gun violence has increased in popular TV shows not only on an absolute basis but also as a proportion of violent scenes and whether trends in gun portrayal on these shows are associated with corresponding trends in the proportion of real-world violence attributable to firearms in the US from 2000 to 2018. Although violence on TV dramas peaked in 2011, gun use steadily increased over the study period both in absolute terms and in relation to other violent methods. As such, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that popular media are contributing to the acceptance of guns for violent purposes, although the authors conclude that more research is needed.


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