Associate Professor Bob Hancox and Lindsay Robertson, of the University of Otago New Zealand, reported that excessive television viewing as a child resulted in antisocial and criminal behavior later in life in the Feb. 18, 2013, issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The study followed a group of around 1,000 children born in the New Zealand city of Dunedin in 1972 to 1973 from the age of five to the age of 15.
The researchers found that the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 percent with every hour that children spent watching television on an average weeknight.
“The study also found that watching more television in childhood was associated, in adulthood, with aggressive personality traits, an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, and an increased risk of antisocial personality disorder.”
The children that developed antisocial behaviors watched more television. No correlation with being antisocial in and of itself was established as a cause of the behavior by the research.
The results of the research were determined to be independent of race, economic status, and parenting.
This is the first research to directly correlate television viewing in early life and antisocial and criminal behavior later in life.