Doob, A. N., & Macdonald, G. E. (1979). Television viewing and fear of victimization: Is the relationship causal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37 (2), 170-179.

Abstract:  Previous findings have suggested that people who watch a lot of TV are more likely to fear their environment than are those who report being less frequent viewers. From this simple correlation, previous authors (e.g., G. Gebner and L. Gross, 1974 and 1976) have suggested that TV causes people to overestimate the amount of danger that exists in their own neighborhoods. The present study attempted to replicate this finding and to determine if the apparent effect was due to a previously uncontrolled factor: the actual incidence of crime in the neighborhood. Respondents to a door-to-door survey indicated their media usage and estimated the likelihood of their being a victim of violence. Neighborhoods were chosen to include a high- and a low-crime area in downtown Toronto and a high- and a low-crime area in Toronto’s suburbs. Pooling across the 4 areas sampled, the previous findings were replicated. However, the average within-area correlation was insignificant, suggesting that when actual incidence of crime is controlled for, there is no overall relationship between TV viewing and fear of being a victim of crime. A multiple regression analysis and a canonical correlation analysis confirmed these findings. (6 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)