Studying Media Effects on Children and Youth: Improving Methods and Measures
Alexandra Beatty, Rapporteur
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. 04–1101–310 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2006). Studying Media Effects on Children and Youth: Improving Methods and Measures. Alexandra Beatty, Rapporteur. Program Committee for a Workshop on Improving Research on Interactive Media and Children’s Health. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education and Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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PROGRAM COMMITTEE FOR A WORKSHOP ON IMPROVING RESEARCH ON INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH
ALETHA C.HUSTON (Chair),
Department of Human Ecology, University of Texas, Austin
Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts
Office of the Provost, University of South Carolina
Department of Human Development, University of Maryland
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley
Department of Family Studies, University of Maryland
American Institutes for Research, Baltimore
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Department of Communication, Stanford University
JANET WARD SCHOFIELD,
Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine, University of New Mexico
ELLEN WARTELLA (liaison to the Board on Children, Youth, and Families) Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost,
University of California, Riverside
ROSEMARY CHALK, Project Director
WENDY KEENAN, Program Associate
BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES
MICHAEL I.COHEN (Chair),
Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
BARBARA WOLFE (Vice Chair),
Department of Economics and Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin
Department of Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital, Boston
Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
MARY JANE ENGLAND, Office of the President,
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University
School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles
Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Institute of Medicine, The National Academies, Washington, DC
Department of Psychology, Temple University
ELLEN WARTELLA, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost,
University of California, Riverside
ROSEMARY CHALK, Board Director
WENDY KEENAN, Program Associate
Concerns about the theory, quality, and rigor of methods and measures in studies of the impact of media technologies on child health and development have emerged in recent Academy studies. A 2006 study of the impact of food marketing on the diets and health of children and youth (Institute of Medicine, 2006) and an earlier 2004 study on underage drinking (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2004) both called attention to the pervasive nature of media in the social environments of today’s children and youth and the limited capacity of research studies to understand its nature, intensity, duration, or effects.
In response to these concerns, members of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine sought to organize a planning discussion to explore the strengths and limitations of the methods and measures of interactions between media influences and child and adolescent health and development. Board member Ellen Wartella framed a set of key questions that ultimately led to a collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation in organizing a planning meeting to examine these issues and to identify strategies that could inform the design and implementation of future surveys and studies. A program committee chaired by Aletha Huston met by phone to plan the agenda for the meeting and to identify speakers and other participants.
The program committee commissioned two papers to guide the discussions: Elizabeth Vandewater from the University of Texas prepared an overview of the types of measures currently employed in selected media studies, and Michael Oakes from the University of Minnesota presented an analysis from the perspective of a social epidemiologist on the merits of selected study designs and assessment measures. Both papers are available online, along with slides from presentations by other speakers (www.bocyf.org).
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Judy S.DeLoache, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia; Susan McHale, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University; W.James Potter, Department of Communication, University of California at Santa Barbara; Richard Scheines, Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University; and Ellen Wartella, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of California, Riverside.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Gary
Sandefur, College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author(s) and the institution.
Program Committee for a Workshop on Improving Research on Interactive Media and Children’s Health