Men, muscles, and machismo: The relationship between exposure to television violence and antisocial outcomes in the presence of hypermasculinity

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


George Comstock


Police dramas, Antisocial, Hypermasculinity, Machismo, Men, Television, Violence

Subject Categories

Mass Communication


This study examines the addition of a new variable, hypermasculinity, to the relationship between television violence and antisocial outcomes. The content analysis portion of the study examines "bad guys" and "good guys" in a sample of 30 different police/detective dramas that had originally aired from the 1960s through the 1990s (N = 331 male characters) and determines that hypermasculine, or "macho" portrayals, often accompany aggressive and criminal acts. It also determines that "bad guys" have remained quite hypermasculine and aggressive over time, while "good guys" from more recent programs are less hypermasculine than in previous programs. The experimental portion of the study examines hypermasculinity as a pre-existing personality construct of 60 college-aged male subjects. The pre-test post-test control group design finds those exposed to a violent and hypermasculine television program scored higher for post-test scores of self-reported aggressive/hostile tendencies than those who had received the control condition stimulus of a non-violent, hypermasculine television program. In support of hypotheses, pre-existing aggressive scores and pre-existing hypermasculinity scores both influenced the magnitude of the experimental effects. Therefore, the introduction of hypermasculinity to the experimental literature shows it operates as an important intervening variable that heightens an aggressive response to television violence.


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