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The Value of Reanalysis: TV Viewing and Attention Problems


concerning this article should be addressed to E. Michael Foster, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Rosenau Hall, Campus Box 7445, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Electronic mail may be sent to


Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (= 1,159), this study reexamines the link between maternal reports of television viewing at ages 1 and 3 and attention problems at age 7. This work represents a reanalysis and extension of recent research suggesting young children’s television viewing causes subsequent attention problems. The nonlinear specification reveals the association between television watching and attention problems exists—if at all—only at very high levels of viewing. Adding 2 covariates to the regression model eliminated even this modest effect. The earlier findings are not robust. This study also considers whether its own findings are sensitive to unobserved confounding using fixed-effects estimation. In general, it finds no meaningful relation between television viewing and attention problems.