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Beullens, K., Roe, K. and Van den Bulck, J.

(2011), The Impact of Adolescents'


News and Action Movie Viewing on Risky Driving Behavior: A Longitudinal Study.
Human Communication Research, 37: 488508
Cultivation Analysis is the theory that television (and other media) plays an
extremely important role on how people view their world (West & Turner, 2004). This
studies the fact that television has been heavily incorporated into the human
experience, therefore leading to peoples opinions being influenced by what they see on
the screen rather than from direct personal experience only. This is especially true in
the case of violence and crime, as television generally depicts the world as a violent
place, therefore leading its viewers to believe it is so. For example, in the example
given by West and Turner, someone would be more likely to vote for a candidate who
stands against crime rather than the candidate that stands for education, because of the
way she sees the world: as an unsafe, scary place that she needs protection from.
The study conducted by Beullens, Roe, and Bluck centered around how
adolescents consumption of news and action movies has an impact, or lack thereof, on
their safety while driving. This study was framed around both cultivation analysis and
the theory of planned behavior (behavioral intentions are influenced by the attitude
about the likelihood that the behavior will have the expected outcome and the subjective
evaluation of the risks and benefits of that outcome; Boston University School of Public
Health). They pose the question: does adolescents viewing of particular television
genres have an affect on self-reported risky driving?
The participants in this study were randomly select from the secondary schools in
Flaneders, Belgium. Researchers began by having questionnaires handed out to the
sample of 2,193 adolescents, where they answered questions about their television and
movie viewing habits, personality characteristics, and attitude on risky driving. Two
years after this initial assessment, the follow up questionnaire was given out via email,
with the option for hand written response if there was no reply to the first effort. In this
assessment, risky driving, driving after alcohol consumption, and television viewing
habits were measured with multiple choice questions.
Beullens, Roe, and Blucks findings were gender specific, yet in line with their
hypothesis. As predicted, there was a positive relationship between viewing of action
movies and risky driving behavior. Generally, they saw a heavier correlation between
males consumption of action movies and their tendency to engage is risky diving
behavior than females. They also found that the relationship between action movie
viewing and risky driving is much stronger than that of news viewing and the same risky
driving. Due to these findings, the three argue that not just the viewing of television in
general has a negative impact on the habits (in this case, driving) of youth, but is in fact
genre specific, unlike what many other articles argue.
These researchers believe that these findings are a key aspect to predicting how
to reach this demographic in preventing in the future. While all their hypotheses may not

have been completely correct, the results did prove that there is a specific channel
through this medium that can be targeted to get in touch with adolescents about their
safety.
West, R. & Turner, L. H. (2004). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and application (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.