Ethnic stereotyping and attitudes toward America and her policies among preadolescents in relation with television viewing behavior
The purpose of this study was to identify relationships between the television viewing habits of American preadolescents with their attitudes toward different ethnicities and religions and toward America and her policies. The potential reciprocal relationship between ethnic and religious stereotyping and political beliefs was also examined. Participants ranged in age from 8 and 14 years and came from across the United States. Their parents were contacted via e-mail to allow their child to participate in an online survey.
Results indicated that television was related to attitudes toward ethnic and religious groups. These results were impacted by age and group. Specifically, the more television viewed, the more negative preadolescents' attitudes were towards African Americans and Arab Americans and the more characters they recognized, the more negative attitudes were toward Muslim Americans and the more positive toward Jewish Americans. Most importantly, however, knowing members in a group resulted in more positive attitudes towards that group. Results also indicated that the type of program and amount of television preadolescents watch impacted their attitudes concerning America's policies; specifically, preadolescents who viewed longer amounts of television and situational comedies had more negative attitudes concerning America's guarantee of civil liberties; those who watched dramatic programs were less supportive of helping other countries in need and more supportive of America's guarantee of civil liberties. Given the high numbers of programs preadolescents watch, these results may have broader consequences than measured here. Overall, the study shows that television has the ability to impact preadolescents' attitudes towards ethnicities and religions and American policies.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0708: Mass media