Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Bryan E. Porter

Committee Member

Alan Meca

Committee Member

Jeremiah Still


The assertion that television has an impact on viewers is well-supported in theory and empirical research. Hundreds of researchers have conducted hundreds of studies focused on limited, specific programming content or specific effects to contribute to this evidence. However, far fewer researchers have conducted broad, comprehensive programming content analysis. One exception is a 2005 study from Will et al. examining multiple health and safety behaviors including sexual activity, driving behaviors, intoxicating and unhealthy substance use, and violence depicted in the 1997/1998 primetime television season. Results of their research showed overall that primetime television promoted the perception that the observed health- and safety-compromising behaviors were more common than in reality, and that they were largely inconsequential. Their unique research contribution was an inventory and analysis of popular television programming content that influenced viewers’ attitudes and behaviors in multiple health- and safety-related ways.

The current study expounded upon Will et al. using 2017 popular television programming as a sample. The same observations were conducted on this updated content, using the same methods, but adding streaming video to the sample to better reflect modern television viewing. Furthermore, observations related to sleep, diet, and exercise habits, diversity, and sexual harassment were also added, reflecting expanding knowledge about factors affecting health outcomes.


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