Effects of Warning and Information Labels on Attraction to Television Violence in Viewers of Different Ages

Authors

  • Brad J. Bushman

    1. Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, USAand Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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    • 1Correspondence regarding this manuscript should be addressed to Brad J. Bushman, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. E-mail: bbushman@umich.edu


Abstract

Warning labels on violent television programs give viewers discretionary advice and, therefore, might arouse reactance in viewers of all ages. Information labels give viewers information but no advice and, therefore, should not arouse reactance. Five age groups were tested: 9-11 year olds, 12-14 year olds, 15-17 years olds, 18-20 year olds, and adults at least 21 years old. Participants (N=900) read descriptions of violent and nonviolent TV programs and rated how much they wanted to watch them. The description contained a warning label, an information label, or no label. Consistent with reactance theory, results showed that warning labels drew people of all ages to violent TV programs. Information labels did not draw viewers to violent programs.

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