Study Disputes Correlation Between Aggressive Behavior and Violence on Television

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: May 23, 2001

HONOLULU -- Is there a connection between violence on television and aggressive behavior? According to a study by one UH Hilo Professor, the answer is no.

Thom Curtis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, recently had his article, "Television Violence and Aggression" published in the March issue of National Conference on Family Relations Review.

His article analyzed data regarding subject's viewing habits as children as well as violent behavior as adults. It also examined the types and amounts of real violence that subjects had experienced or witnessed in their own homes.

The study, involving more than 1100 subjects, found that there is no correlation between television viewing habits and later acts of aggression against people and property. However, a strong correlation was revealed between children who witnessed or experienced acts of family violence while growing up and later violent actions as teenagers and adults.

Dr. Curtis specializes in Sociology of the Family and is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Hawaii and Utah. His research has focused on numerous aspects of family structure and process, with much of his work in the area of family violence. He has published several books, chapters and articles regarding family dynamics and sociology. Recent publications include a research project investigating child abuse in the wake of natural disasters, an evaluation of family violence in Hawaii, two studies regarding non-marital pregnancy, an essay on cultural competency for marriage and family therapists, and several articles on ethics in family psychotherapy.

Dr. Curtis actively promotes marriage and family therapy throughout Hawai'i and previously served as president of the Hawaii Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in 1998. He has worked as volunteer for the American Red Cross for over a decade and became Hawaii's first certified Disaster Mental Health instructor in 1997. He has traveled throughout the country to disaster sites as an American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Specialist. He is currently serving as the Adoption Focus Group Chair for the National Conference on Family Relations.

Dr. Curtis is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and was accredited by the National Conference on Family Relations as one of Hawaii's first Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE). He earned his Ph.D. at Utah State University, Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Montana State University, and Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pacific Lutheran University.