CONTEXT. Previous research has found that exposure to violence in the home, community, and electronic media are associated with children's and adolescents' normative expectations concerning the use of violence and with other indicators of the violent behaviors by youth.
OBJECTIVE. Our purpose with this study was to examine the relationships between the frequency that high school students reported watching wrestling on television and engaging in date fighting, weapon carrying, and other fighting behaviors.
DESIGN. The initial analysis consisted of a cross-sectional study of a simple random sample of high school students, which was followed by a longitudinal analysis of these students over a 6- to 7-month period.
SETTING. The setting was all public high schools in 1 city/county system.
PARTICIPANTS. We used a simple random sample (N = 2228) of students.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. The primary outcome variables included the frequency of date fighting during the previous 12 months and alcohol or other drug involvement associated with the last date fight.
RESULTS. There were significant correlations between frequency of watching wrestling on television during the previous 2 weeks and engaging in date fighting, fighting in general, and weapon carrying for both males and females, although the relationships were stronger among females than among males. The frequency of watching wrestling was highest among students reporting date fighting when either the victim or perpetrator had been drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs. When analyzed using logistic regression, the strongest relationships were observed between the frequency of watching wrestling and date-fight perpetration among females in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. These findings persisted after adjusting for multiple other factors.
CONCLUSIONS. For males and females, the frequency of watching wrestling was highest among students who fought with their dates when alcohol or other drugs were involved. The association between watching wrestling and date fighting was stronger among females than males. The relationship between watching wrestling on television and being the perpetrator of dating violence was also stronger among females and remained consistent over a 6- to 7-month time period.