An analysis of almost 400 top-grossing movies from 1985 to 2010 shows about 90 percent included at least one moment of violence involving a main character. In 77 percent of those movies, the main character also smoked tobacco or drank alcohol or engaged in sexual behavior, HealthDay reports.
More than half of the most popular movies rated PG-13 featured a main character who acted violently and involved either drinking, smoking or sexual behavior within a five-minute segment, the researchers found. The study found almost no difference between the most popular PG-13 movies and R-rated movies in depicting main characters who engaged in violent and alcohol use, or violence and sexual behavior.
The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.
“We know that some teenagers imitate what they see on-screen,” study lead author Amy Bleakley of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, said in a news release. “What concerns us is that movies aimed at younger viewers are making a connection between violence and a variety of risky behaviors – sex, drinking and smoking.”
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