SYMBOLIC VICTIMIZATION AND REAL WORLD FEAR

Authors

  • MICHAEL MORGAN

    1. Michael Morgan (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1980) is research specialist at the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.
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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between relative victimization in television drama and variations in susceptibility to the cultivation of a sense of personal risk in the real world. The data are based on 323 demographic subgroups (defined by all combinations of age, sex, race, marital status, and class categorizations). Viewers whose fictional counterparts are more likely to be shown as victims show stronger associations between viewing and perceived vulnerability. Moreover, the relative power hierarchy of television drama (derived from “risk ratios” of violence and victimization) strongly matches the real-world hierarchy of susceptibility.

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