Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Parenting behaviors : a content analysis of TV family situation comedies Public Deposited

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  • Parent-characters in televised family programs set examples for viewers who may re-enact their behaviors with real children. This study attempts to determine how much "desirable" and "undesirable" behavior is modeled on these shows, and whether the behaviors are coupled with responses that might encourage or discourage viewer adoption of the behaviors. Three programs ("Roseanne," "Married ... With Children," and "The Simpsons") are contrasted with other programs to determine whether the allegedly "bad" parent-characters on these controversial shows are significantly different from the allegedly "good" parent-characters on other family programs in terms of modeled parenting behaviors and responses to these behaviors. Humor and gender are also analyzed. The contents of 75 prime-time family situation comedies which aired during the winter months of 1991 made up the data for this research. Variables in the analysis included: parenting behavior types (beneficial/detrimental), responses to parenting behaviors (rewarded/punished), humor--defined by canned laughter, genre (controversial/noncontroversial program), and gender. Sixty-five percent of the beneficial behaviors and 38% of the detrimental behaviors were rewarded, while 35% of the beneficial behaviors and 62% of the detrimental behaviors were punished. Humor was associated with detrimental behaviors more frequently than with beneficial behaviors. The controversial genre was associated with more detrimental behavior than the noncontroversial genre, though there was no significant difference in responses for detrimental behavior. Humor was associated with detrimental behaviors on the controversial genre more frequently than on the noncontroversial genre. A significant association was found for gender and genre for type of parenting behavior as well as type of humor. Both genders exhibited more detrimental behavior and derogatory humor on controversial than noncontroversial shows, and mother-characters exhibited more than father-characters. Findings are interpreted in light at social learning theory, the social sanctioning power of humor, and the illusions of reality provided by television tor norms of behavior in private domains (i.e. private homes).
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