PG-13 Rated Movie Violence and Societal Violence: is there a Link?

  • Christopher J. FergusonEmail author
  • Patrick Markey
Original Paper


Recent scholarship has suggested that the frequency of violence in PG-13 rated movies has increased in recent years. Although some scholars have expressed concern that such an increase may have public health implications, this has remained untested. In the current article, trends in PG-13 movie violence are tested against trends in violence in society, including both homicides and youth violence. Raw correlations suggest that PG-13 rated movie violence is inversely related to actual violence in society. However, controlling for autocorrelations suggests that the best interpretation is that PG-13 rated movie violence is unrelated to violence in society. Caution is advised for scholars to avoid implying that PG-13 rated movie violence may have a causal effect on crime in society.


Movies Mass media Violence Crime 


Author’s Contribution

Christopher J. Ferguson conceived of the study, obtained data on societal violence and assisted in the writing of the final manuscript.

Patrick Markey obtained the PG-13 movie violence data, conducted the analyses and assisted in the writing of the final manuscript.

All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

None to declare.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStetson UniversityDeLandUSA
  2. 2.Villanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

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