Date of Award

7-23-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Erika Frenzel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John A. Lewis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer J. Roberts, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Michele R. Papakie, D.Sc.

Abstract

This study expanded on the current mass media research known as cultivation theory. Specifically, the research examined the impact of crime-related television viewing on a number of criminal justice issues including attitudes/perceptions of police, perceptions of forensic evidence, perceptions of clearance rates, perceptions of crime, and fear of victimization. Controlling for previously used cultivation variables such as age, sex, race, personal experience, town size, co-habitants, and education, the study tried to ascertain the impact of crime-related television on the aforementioned criminal justice issues. Furthermore, the study asked what role criminal justice classes may have had in determining student perceptions as well. In brief, the study found that crime-related television viewing was statistically significant in influencing perceptions of forensic evidence and fear of crime. Moreover, general television watching (of any type of program content) was statistically significant in influencing perceptions of clearance rates. No television watching variables were determined to be statistically significant in affecting attitudes/perceptions of police or other criminal justice workers or perception of crime rates.

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