Award Date

December 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Paul Traudt

Second Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Third Committee Member

Lawrence Mullen

Fourth Committee Member

Katherine Hertlein

Number of Pages

121

Abstract

This study observed the relationship between television consumption and child obesity through the theoretical construct of Putnam’s displacement hypothesis. It did so by updating the previous research through the investigation of the displacement of both physical activity and advertisements on contemporary television platforms. The inclusion of Putnam’s displacement hypothesis was to provide a foundational framework, not found in previous literature, to study two important paradigms that were represented in previous research: 1) the displacement of physical activity; and 2) the displacement of traditional advertisement exposure.

Several trends became apparent within previous literature. Previous literature did not include an explicitly stated theory by which to study any phenomena in the relationship between television consumption and child obesity. In addition to a lack of theory, previous literature did not incorporate newer, contemporary television platforms. Therefore, it was necessary to modernize the literature in this area of research for the two aforementioned reasons.

The current study’s methodology included a survey instrument by which to measure multiple variables present within the television consumption and child obesity relationship. The survey instrument included questions pertaining to the following measures: 1) parental gender and socioeconomic status; 2) gender and ethnicity; 3) body mass index; 4) general and contemporary television consumption; 5) physical activity; 6) parent’s perceived neighborhood safety; and 7) parental mediation. The survey investigated the information pertaining to children five to thirteen years old from three different populations in the United States: 1) Baldwin Park, California; 2) Monroe, Louisiana; and 3) Las Vegas, Nevada.

Once the survey administration period was completed, data from the site in Las Vegas, Nevada was not incorporated into the analysis because it skewed the data. A scale-item analysis was performed to determine internal consistency. The retained scale items were submitted to a factor analysis with varimax rotation. Factor analysis revealed sub-dimensions for one of the constructs measured via scales. Pearson’s product moment correlation was then used to test each hypothesis and research question. While each hypothesis was not supported, there is a possible cultivation effect within the sample. Strengths, such as the survey scale items used, and limitations, such as the small sample size, are mentioned. Finally, the end of the study discusses the need for future research to utilize the methods within this study; however, to do so with a larger sample size.

Keywords

BMI; Childhood; Media; Obesity; Physical Activity; Television

Disciplines

Nutrition | Public Health | Sociology

Language

English


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