Will, K., Porter, B., Geller, E., & DePasquale, J. (2005, January). Is Television a Health and Safety Hazard? A Cross-Sectional Analysis of At-Risk Behavior on Primetime Television. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(1), 198-222. Retrieved July 16, 2009, doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02100.x

Twenty-four top-rated primetime television shows were observed weekly during 1997 and 1998 (242 episodes). The study examined behaviors of vehicle occupants; violence and risky sex; and use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Findings were compared to studies conducted in the mid-1980s and 1994. Characters in vehicles were unrestrained 74% of the time in 1998, compared to 73% and 78% in 1994 and 1986, respectively. Violence, risky sex, and substance use were shown in 47%, 29%, and 55%, respectively, of 30-min intervals observed in 1998. Similar data were recorded in 1994, with some negligible improvements. Results indicated that risky behaviors were rarely followed by punishing consequences, and irresponsible behaviors were modeled on primetime television. The relevance to social modeling and public health is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)