Media Exposure and Women's Fear of Crime

Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Dianne Carmody

Committee Member

Ruth Triplett

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 H67 2009


This study examines the relationship between the media portrayal of women and crime on television and fear of crime among female viewers. Data from the National Opinion Survey of Crime and Justice was used. A weak relationship between media exposure and fear of crime was found. Consistent with previous research, a statistically significant gender difference was revealed. Women reported higher levels of fear overall. When television dramas were examined, women who watched these shows had a lower reported fear of crime. An unexpected inverse relationship emerged between women's age and fear of crime. This finding contradicts a majority of the research on this subject. The results of this thesis indicated that the relationship between the media and women's fears is a complex phenomenon and addition analysis is needed. Implications for research and theory are also discussed.


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