Yonts, N.E. (2002). Children’s beliefs about firearms and their exposure to violent media. (Doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University, 2002). Dissertation Abstracts International, 63 (10-B), 4946.
Abstract: Scope and method of study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to violent media and beliefs about firearms in children. Participants were 78 children, 8-11 years of age, from an Oklahoma elementary school. Measures included general beliefs about firearms, exposure to violent television and violent videogames, sensation seeking disposition, and fear of victimization. Children were also presented with pictorial gun transgression scenarios and rated seriousness and deserved punishment for the transgressions. Social and motivational contexts of the gun transgressions were manipulated to investigate contextual influences on children’s ratings. Parents of the children completed a risk taking scale and a survey of their own gun beliefs. Pearson’s r, analyses of variance, and t-tests were used to test 7 hypotheses. Findings and conclusions. Children with frequent exposure to violent videogames had more positive general beliefs about guns than children with little or no exposure. In addition, these children also rated gun rule violations as less serious and deserving less punishment, compared to children with less violent videogame exposure. No significant relationship was found between exposure to violent television and children’s gun beliefs. Sensation seeking disposition was related to gun beliefs; high sensation seekers had more positive general beliefs about guns and viewed gun transgressions as less serious and deserving of less punishment than low sensation seekers. There was no significant relationship between risk taking behaviors and gun beliefs. Children with high fear of being victimized had more negative beliefs about guns than children with low fear. Finally, children rated the gun transgression scenarios that showed a child pointing a gun at another child as more serious and deserving of more punishment than those scenarios with the child acting alone. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)