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

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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.

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Authors and Affiliations



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.

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Correspondence to Christopher J. Ferguson.

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

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Ferguson, C.J., Markey, P. PG-13 Rated Movie Violence and Societal Violence: is there a Link?. Psychiatr Q 90, 395–403 (2019).

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