Interpersonal conflict resolution in primetime television drama


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Interpersonal conflict resolution in primetime television drama
Physical Description:
vi, 93 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Frances, David
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Subjects / Keywords:
Violence on television   ( lcsh )
Television broadcasting -- Social aspects   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis--University of Florida.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 85-92).
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Frances.
General Note:
General Note:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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aleph - 000195362
notis - AAW2033
oclc - 03667379
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Full Text








Special thanks to Drs. Robert C. Ziller and Kenneth Christiansen

for their support, encouragement and suggestions. Thanks also to Nita

Dickens for her super typing. Special-est thanks to my wife Elaine

without whose love, intelligence, good sense and all-around greatness

I could never have undertaken this project.

A final word of acknowledgement to my four month old son Joshua

who has cheerfully kept me constant company during the final stages of

this work and who has given me an extra sense of purpose in completing




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..................................................... ii

ABSTRACT............................................................. v


I REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.................................. 1

II EXPERIMENTAL HYPOTHESES.....................................14

II PROCEDURE................................................. 15
Survey ................... ...............................15
Content Analysis......................................16

IV ANALYSIS................................................. ... 19

V RESULTS..............................................................21
Survey.................................. .. ...... ........ 21
Content Analysis........................................28

VI DISCUSSION.................................................30
Survey......................... .......... .. ........ 30
Content Analysis........................................31

II CONCLUSIONS................................................33












RATER SCORING MANUAL........................................50

MATERIALS USED FOR RATER TRAINING...........................68



VIOLENT EPISODES......................................78





PERCENT AGREEMENT WITH STANDARD ........................84

BIBLIOGRAPHY.......... ................................. .............. ..85

REFERENCE NOTES...... ...................................... ......91

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................................93

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



David Frances

June 1977

Chairman: Hugh Davis
Major Department: Psychology

Ten raters were trained to discern the major conflicts of prime-

time dramatic programs on television, the types of conflict resolution

(CR) employed to resolve the major conflicts, and to describe the action

and intent of all violent episodes occurring in the dramas. Over a

three week period, from two to four raters per night viewed the complete

primetime dramatic schedule of each national network.

Concurrent with the content analysis, a "conflict survey" was

completed anonymously by 344 City of Gainesville employees. The survey

included items which asked respondents to express the degree to which

they approved of each of four means by which interpersonal conflicts are

resolved. These types of conflict resolution were based upon Karen

Homey's categorization of CR types. In addition, the survey contained

personal information items, and four of Ziller's Self-Other Orientation


The content analysis revealed that 82% of the violent episodes

observed on primetime television were intended, in context, to resolve

interpersonal conflicts. It also showed that, of the major conflicts

observed, 47% were resolved by the opponents' "moving toward" one

another, 4% by their "moving away from" one another, and 49% by their

"moving against" one another (41% by violence, and 8% by nonviolent

coercion). Compared with the scoring standard, raters scored CR

"correctly" 80% of the time, the number of violent episodes 100% of the

time, and the specific episode types 64% of the time.

The survey revealed that the more a person watches television, the

more likely he is to approve of violence and coercion as suitable

strategies for resolving interpersonal conflicts. Heavier viewers also

tended, relative to lighter viewers, to overestimate the extent to which

those in real-life use violence to resolve interpersonal conflicts and

to underestimate the number of people who seek help from mental health


Major conclusions: Most of the violence on primetime dramatic pro-

grams on television is intended, in context, to resolve interpersonal

conflicts, and, the more a person watches television, the more likely he

is to approve of TV's most frequently depicted mode of appropriate CR,

"moving against" others.


No national achievement, celebration, or mourning
seems real until it is confirmed and shared on tele-
vision. Representation in the world of television
gives an idea, a cause, a group its sense of public
identity, importance, and relevance. (Gerbner & Gross,
1976, p. 176)

With more than 100 million television sets in current American use

(NAB, 1972) and the average daily TV viewing in America now exceeding

4 1/2 hours (Whitney, 1975), this claim is hardly overstated. In

recent months, for example, the world has witnessed television's ability

to instantly validate a cause as, independently, terrorists throughout

the world have seized hostages and demanded air time with increasing

frequency ("Seizing hostages," 1977).

As the single most influential mass communication medium (Roper,

1974), TV might also be expected somehow to influence the lives, and

hereby the behavior of many of its viewers. One observer of tele-

vision's effects on foreign politics (Dizard, 1965) refers to television

as a "revolutionary instrument" because of its demonstrated power to

change societies. In fact, hundreds of research projects have been

undertaken with the notion of better defining the dimensions of this

power (Comstock & Fisher, 1975).

Television has been found to influence a wide variety of behaviors

and beliefs. These include politics (Lang & Lang, 1968), sex-role

stereotyping (McArthur & Resko, 1975), electoral "ticket splitting"


(DeVries & Tarrance, 1972), and improvement in psychotherapy (Lazarus &

Bienlein, 1967), to name just a few. Television's widely presumed in-

fluence on consumer spending has also been documented with regard to a

large number of goods, ranging from apples (Henderson, Hind, & Brown,

1961) and drugs (Peterson, Kuriansky, Konheim, Anderson, Tesar, Podell,

Ho, & Cowan, 1976) to home utensils (Becknell & Mclsaac, 1963).

Easily the most researched apsect of television's influence on hu-

man behavior is TV's portrayal of violence. This trend has been large-

ly encouraged by the "Surgeon General's Report" on television violence.

Actually a report to the U.S. Surgeon General by his Scientific Advi-

sory Committee on Television and Social Behavior, this document was in-

stigated in 1969 at the urging of U.S. Senator Pastore (Bogart, 1972;

Cater & Strickland, 1975). While specific findings of this report were

not conclusive, a great deal of talent and energy was mobilized to

study violence on television.

As might be expected, the lack of ironclad conclusiveness proffered

by the Surgeon General's Report has fueled a considerable degree of con-

troversy. While the majority of workers in the field (see Bogart, 1972)

seem convinced that a causal relationship has been established between

TV's violence and aggressive behavior, others vehemently oppose this


Among violence researchers, Bandura and his associates have been

cited widely in support of generalization effects. Following much

experimental work on the subject, Bandura concludes (1973) that ag-

gressive behavior may indeed be learned from observing others on tele-

vision. His findings have been duplicated and supported from many

different perspectives. For example, Drabman & Thomas (1974) find

that children viewing TV violence exhibit an increased toleration of

real-life aggression. Ellis and Sekyra (1972) find that children view-

ing aggressive cartoons were more likely to increase demonstrations of

aggressive behavior than nonviewers. Leifer and Roberts (1972) deter-

mine that aggressiveness in children consistently increases following

exposure to TV violence. Eron, Huesmann, Lefkowitz, and Walder (1972)

correlate violence viewing by third grade boys with aggressiveness ten

years later. Gorney, Loye and Steele (Note 1; Note 2; 1977), in an

ambitious but as yet inconclusive field study, indicate that ". dra-

matized television programs may have substantial impact on the ordinary

psychosocial adaptation of adults and on the emotional and behavioral

climate of the home" (p. 174). The list of studies which have reached

similar conclusions or have demonstrated similar effects is extensive.

The interested reader is referred to Comstock (1975), Comstock and

Lindsey (1975), and Liebert and Schwartzberg (1977), for comprehensive


At the other extreme are the research efforts endorsed or sup-

ported by the TV networks themselves. While the initial industry

response (Klapper, 1960; Hartley, 1964) supported the notion that TV

violence viewing was actually beneficial due to its cathartic effect,

subsequent experimental evidence (e.g., Goranson, 1969; 1970) has

negated this argument. More current is the work of such researchers as

NBC's Milavsky and Pekowsky (Note 3) who maintain that the influence of

TV in promoting aggression in boys is contingent upon a previous history

of aggressiveness. ABC's Heller and Polsky (Note 4) similarly indicate

that developmental variables are far more predictive of aggressive

behavior than television viewing of any sort. This position does have

non-industry support, as well: One study (Baran, 1973) finds self-

esteem an important factor in the extent to which children model aggres-

sive behaviors; another (Kniveton & Stepehnson, 1973) shows that the

tendency to imitate filmed models is an enduring individual characteris-

tic of early childhood. Further defense of industry practices is pro-

vided by Milgram and Shotland (1973), who, in a CBS financed study,

attack all modeling hypotheses by concluding that no correlations exist

between television viewing and antisocial behavior. Other network

sponsored research (e.g., Lieberman, Note 5) support the "no correla-

tions" view in varying degrees. Feshbach (in Gunther, 1977), too, does

"not feel the evidence supports the idea that televised violence begets

imitation to any important degree" (p. 37). So, despite data which many

feel conclusively shows a relationship between TV viewing and aggres-

sion, the argument continues (and so largely through industry sponsor-


Bias notwithstanding, the most thorough picture of television's

violent content is afforded by George Gerbner's annual content analysis

of primetime dramatic and weekend children's shows. Undertaken for the

National Institute of Mental Health during the past seven years,

Gerbner's work details the overall rate, prevalence and characterization

of television violence. Gerbner's most recent content analysis (Gerbner

et al., Note 6) indicates that during 1975, 92.4% of primetime program

hours contained violence, an average of 7.2 violent episodes occurred

each program hour, 51.1% of the leading characters committed violence,

and 50.4% were victims. Furthermore, 16.5% were killers, while 9.8%

were killed.

The picture which these and other data (e.g., Dominick, 1973)

describe is grossly discrepant with the "real world." Crime statistics

(Gerbner, 1972; Gross & Messaris, 1973) indicate that personal violence,

violence among strangers, and violent crimes are far less likely to

occur in real life than on TV. It is estimated, for example, that by

age fourteen, the average American will have seen 18,000 people killed

on television (Whitney, 1975). In contrast, Baker and Ball (1969b) find

that only 5% of the public actually has been involved in incidents in-

volving knives or guns, even in self-defense.

The dichotomy between the television world and the real world is

also reflected in the differing perceptions of heavy and light TV view-

ers. One difference is that heavy viewers are more distrustful of

strangers; another is a significantly greater tendency to overestimate

both their chances of encountering violence as well as the percentage of

men employed as policemen (Gerbner et al., Note 6). Similarly, heavy

crime show viewers believe that criminals are more likely to "get

caught" than do light viewers (Dominick, 1974). In general, tele-

vision's ability to cultivate social beliefs is greatest among heavy

viewers and in areas where real-life information is least available.

This effect, although most obvious within the violence literature, has

also been documented with regard to racial stereotyping (Greenberg,

1972), sex-role stereotyping (Frueh & McGhee, 1975), perception of

occupational alternatives (Beuf, 1974) and the development of conven-

tional views of life (Weigel & Jessor, 1973). Clearly, people who view

four or more hours of television daily tend to believe its portrayal of

reality, despite its often blatant distortions.

While the exaggerated presence of violence has been documented

and the influence of modeled violence, in many minds, established,

little regarding nonviolent behavior has been reported. Historically,

this "other side" of the issue has not been considered by researchers

and critics. As Comstock (1975) notes:

Analyses of television violence began with simple tabulations
of the numbers of deaths, accidents, murders, violence scenes,
or violent programs within a specified time period. The desire
was to document the general impression that there was a great
deal of violence on television. (p. 14)

The many congressional hearings and government financed studies on this

topic, moreover, testify to the degree of alarm with which TV's power

has been perceived. Consequently, TV research has tended to focus on

negatively valued, relatively blatant phenomena such as violence, cen-

sorship, or advertising. The high degree of valuing and of selectively

attending to topics which much of society perceives negatively is clear;

and it is a tendency readily seen in the adjectives most commonly used

to describe the research itself. In context, violent, aggressive,

and antisocial are used almost interchangeably to designate undesirable

or "negative" behavior. The predominant area of TV research (violence),

therefore, is largely the study of negative interactions.

As a result, the TV research establishment has been extremely slow

in dealing with positive interactions. Leifer, Gordon, and Graves

(1974) note, for example, that "We know of no detailed content analyses

of positive interaction occurring between people on television" (p. 218).

As of 1976, their observation is still apparent, although Liebert's re-

search group (Harvey, Note 7) is currently preparing just such an analy-

sis for publication. Nonetheless, the lack of prosocial research has

been unfortunate, for, as Leifer et al. continue, "If television can

effectively increase aggressive behavior, it conceivably can encourage

other forms of interpersonal interaction" (p. 217).

In fact, the notion that television might actively promote socially

valued behaviors in its programming to encourage more effective inter-

personal and social communication is just beginning to receive experi-

mental support. Such researchers as Liebert and Poulos (1974) and

Rubinstein, Liebert, Neale, and Poulos (Note 8) have provided evidence

in support of TV's ability to arouse prosocial behavior. Furthermore,

there is notable support for mass intervention of this nature from

elements of the psychological, psychiatric, and educational communities

(e.g., Alschuler, 1973; Bruner, 1965; Jones, 1968; Kubie, 1959, 1966;

Torrey, 1974). This view is probably best expressed by George Miller's

(1969) APA Presidential Address in which he called for more effective

means of "giving psychology away" to the public.

At present, as Comstock and Lindsey (1975) observe, research on

the prosocial aspects of television is in its infancy. The few studies

attempted in this area so far have dealt exclusively with children.

And it is interesting to note that workers in the field are actively

encouraging more study of the area (e.g., Leifer, Gordon & Graves,

1973; Liebert & Poulos, in Comstock & Lindsey).

One cannot help but notice, in surveying the literature, that

television researchers tend to study either antisocial behavior

(violence-aggression), or more recently, prosocial behavior (altruism).

Investigators have yet to relate the two areas as aspects of common

phenomenon. Thoughtful consideration of this situation suggests the

following unifying principle: Violent and nonviolent behaviors tend

to be perceived as antisocial and prosocial, respectively, insofar as

they facilitate interpersonal communication. Thus, the real danger of

violence in society may well be the extent to which violence limits more

effective modes of communication. Not only does violence reduce the

amount of information which may be conveyed in a given situation, but it

also, by its nature, tends to escalate its practitioners into ever less

communicative positions. Society's ultimate interest in this issue is

well expressed by Kaufman (1970): ". .. unless our skills in resolving

conflicts peacefully improve drastically, our species faces a very

unhappy, and perhaps terminal, period (p. 128).

The examination of television's role as a model of interpersonal

communication, therefore, might well shed a different light on televised

violence. This seems especially true inasmuch as TV violence has rarely

been studied as a mode of interpersonal communication. The only study

which the author has found that even touches on this view is that of

Lovibond (1967). Using questionnaire data, Lovibond found "a positive

correlation" between exposure to TV violence and endorsement of an

ideology which makes the use of force for egocentric needs the princi-

pal component of interpersonal relationships.

As suggested by Kaufman and others, one concept which might con-

veniently be used to study violence and nonviolence within the context

of interpersonal communication is conflict resolution. The consideration

of conflict resolution to define more accurately the influence of

televised violence is best assessed by examining the ways in which con-

flicts are typically resolved.

In a viable society, conflicts are traditionally resolved in four

ways (Blake & Mouton, 1970): The scientific method, politics, the law,

and organizational hierarchy. In general, lower value is placed on

resolving differences in a "direct, man-to-man way." This tendency

to avoid direct, open, interpersonal communication has been observed

from many disparate perspectives. Thus, marital conflicts (Lederer &

Jackson, 1968), international conflicts (Nicholson, 1970), industrial

conflicts (Bass & Barrett, 1974), and school conflicts (Berkowitz,

1973; Carroll et al., 1973), to name a few, may all be perceived as

situations amenable to direct discussion in theory but often not in

practice. The increased incidence of divorce, war, job dissatisfaction,

and scholastic turmoil, moreover, bears sickening testimony to the more

commonly employed means of dealing with conflict.
Why are people reluctant to resolve disagreements directly with

other people? Ziller (Note 4) believes that personality factors are

primarily responsible. He suggests that antagonists frequently possess

low self-esteem, low social interest, and/or high self-centrality;

and that these factors serve to maintain a de-emphasis on direct

communication. Blake and Mouton offer an additional reason for this

de-emphasis; viz., that men ". do not hold in concert a conceptual

basis for analyzing situations of disagreement and their causes"

(p. 417). That is, a real understanding of conflict and its resolution

(as an organized set of concepts, behavioral options and possible

consequences) is just not common knowledge. Such an understanding

apparently tends not to be conveyed either by formal schooling or by

publicly valued models. The recent popularity of such books as The
Intimate Enemy (Bach & Wyden, 1969) and Creative Aggression (Bach,

1974), which describe rules for effective marital argument, would attest

both to public ignorance in this regard as well as to its desire to

become more knowledgeable. In response to this educational need, Blake

and Mouton propose a conceptualization of conflict resolution and a

strategy for its classroom implementation. In general, they hope for a

future society where "differences among men are subject to resolution

through insights that permit protagonists themselves to identify and

implement solutions to their differences upon the basis of committed

agreement" (p. 416). They believe that such a future could be achieved

through widespread classroom presentation of "conflict as a set of con-

cepts" plus man-to-man feedback regarding an individual's personal

reactions to conflict. Lofty as such a future may sound, it is, in

fact, precisely what all of the authors cited in the previous para-

graph (plus thousands of others) propose to reduce conflict in their

respective areas of interest.

The "set of concepts" which Blake and Mouton use to characterize

conflict resolution is depicted in their Conflict Grid, which is re-

produced in Figure 1 (from Hall, 1973b). This model considers two pri-

mary dimensions of conflict: Concern for people and concern for re-

sults. The manner in which these two dimensions interact describes an

individual's style for resolving a given conflict. Clearly, Blake and

Mouton believe that, according to their system, the 9,9 approach has the

greatest utility in human terms and in the production of results. Ex-

perimental evidence from various sources (e.g., Burke, 1970; Lewis &

Pruitt, 1971; Lawrence & Lorsch, Note 10) clearly support this belief.

Blake and Mouton's view of conflict and its resolution have been

stated independently by others in other words. Among the best known of

these is Karen Homey (1945) who suggested three basic ways of resolving

conflict among people: Moving toward people, moving away from people,

and moving against people. Blake and Mouton's five basic interactions

are easily interchangeable with Horney's simpler formula: Blake and

Mouton's 5,5 and 9,9 comprise "moving toward," 1,1 and 1,9 "moving




8S: B i*.?2 EIS3 .l a

811 iH~ 311 t is ~li a

away from," 9,1 "moving against," In any event, although these ideas

are neither dramatic nor new, the systematic learning of their effective

application is. The very existence of the many management consulting

firms, such as Hall's Teleometrics International, which profitbaly

teach effective conflict management, confirms that this is true.

While the classroom, the home, the conference table, the place of

business, and the school have been suggested as appropriate foci for

learning better conflict management, television has not. If conflict

and its management are indeed reducible to a set of concepts, then it

would appear that TV, with its direct access to nearly all the people,

would have the greatest chance of conveying this message.

Curiously, there is no available research on interpersonal conflict

resolution as presently portrayed on television. This is true despite

the assumption of some (e.g., Greenberg, 1969: Leifer et al., 1974)

that the primary function of TV violence, easily the medium's most wide-

ly researched area, is conflict resolution. As Leifer et al. note:

"The consequences of violence portrayed on television are unrepre-

sentative of reality and serve to perpetuate the fale idea that violence

is a quick, clean, and effective means of conflict resolution" (p. 224).

In a similar vein, Baker and Ball (1969b) agree that violence on tele-

vision seems to be used mainly to resolve conflicts. Conversely, they

add that on television, "Cooperation, compromise, debate and other non-

violent means of conflict resolution are notable for their lack of prom-

inence" (p. 336). Moreover, at least one TV network president, William

Duffy of ABC, has substantiated these presumptions by actually equat-

ing "conflict" and "violence" (NBC News, Note 9). Such an equation, of

course, negates the myriad nonviolent conflicts which shape the average

person's life far more than does violence (Baker & Ball, 1969b).


Both the presumed prevalence of violent conflict resolution on tele-

vision and its influence on public behavior have yet to be examined

empirically. The present study seeks to focus on these issues, in an

effort to better define the role of televised violence. At the least,

such a definition might serve to provide concerned TV programmers with a

more specific message than "don't use so much violence." At most, it

might signal a direction for the future use of TV by mental health pro-



The present work is seen as an attempt to: a) Describe the

phenomenon of conflict resolution on primetime television, a pre-

requisite for study of the area; b) to compare the extent to which light

and heavy television viewers approve of violence and other types of con-

flict resolution.

Consequently, the following hypotheses are presented for examina-

tion during the present study:

1) Violence on primetime television is used mainly to resolve

interpersonal conflicts.

2) "Moving against others" is the primary means by which major

conflicts are resolved in primetime television drama.

3) Heavy television viewers endorse the use of violence to

resolve interpersonal conflicts to a greater extent than do light



The overall format of this study, viz., a TV content analysis plus

a related public survey, was adapted from Gerbner's cultural indicators

format (Gerbner,et al., Note 6).


Because no established measure existed, a "conflict survey" was de-

veloped to ascertain the degree to which respondents endorse different

ways of resolving interpersonal conflicts. A sample survey and details

regarding its development are found in Appendix A. In addition to the

conflict items, the survey also included four scales from Ziller's Self-

Other Orientation instrument (1973): Marginality, self esteem, social

interest, and complexity. Finally, the survey included three public

opinion-type questions involving conflict and mental health and seven

personal information items.

The survey was distributed to the 1500 workers employed by the City

of Gainesville, Florida, with the approval and cooperation of the City

Manager's office. Municipal workers were selected for this purpose be-

cause they comprised the largest, most diverse, and most accessible

population of its type available to the investigator. Within this popu-

lation, almost all levels of education, income, sex, marital status, and

media consumption (the "personal information" data mentioned above)

were amply represented. Copies of the coverage of this project in the

City of Gainesville newsletter are found in Appendix B.

Confidentiality for respondents was assured by pre-survey publici-

ty, by the survey's clearcut directions, and by the inclusion of an en-

velope within each survey booklet. Respondents were told to fold and

seal their anonymous questionnaires in the envelopes and to return them

to their respective administrative offices.

Content Analysis

Fifteen freshmen psychology students were recruited as raters. Of

the original number, five dropped out for various reasons, leaving ten

raters in addition to the investigator.

Raters attended six two-hour training sessions. These sessions

were designed to teach a detailed system for identifying major dramatic

conflicts, for determining types of major conflict resolution, and for

identifying and categorizing violent episodes. This system is thor-

oughly described and discussed in the Rater Scoring Manual given to each

rater and found in Appendix C. In brief, raters were taught to recog-

nize and state explicitly the major conflict of any drama and the man-

ner in which the major conflict was resolved; they also learned to rec-

ognize and classify all violent episodes viewed. The classification

system employed sought to categorize the intent, in context, of all vio-

lence appearing in rated programs.

Toward this end, a special scoring sheet was used to record and

summarize raters' observations. A sample scoring sheet is found on the

last page of the Rater Scoring Manual. In brief, the sheets provide for

scoring of the following information: Rater identification, show in-

formation (name, date, time, length, network), major protagonists,

major conflict, method by which major conflict resolved, types of vio-

lence observed ("conflict resolving," "descriptive," or "gratuitous"),

brief descriptions of violent episodes, and the time at which they oc-

curred. (Note: Additional definitions of violence "types" are found

in the Info-worksheet: Types of violence II, which is found in Appendix


In addition to the manual and scoring sheets, a variety of work-

sheets, handouts, quizzes, videotaped programs and homework assignments

were employed to facilitate learning of the scoring system. All written

materials used for this purpose are found in Appendix D.

Raters were considered qualified after scoring at least 80% on a

rating manual quiz and after attending six training sessions. These

criteria were suggested by the procedures employed by Liebert and

Poulos (Harvey, Note 7).

The television viewing schedule used during the content analysis

was constructed to provide one night of primetime viewing on one of the

three major networks, everynight, over three weeks. Local network af-

filiates were consulted to insure that the maximum amount of regular,

non-special, network programming would be viewed each night of the

schedule. Two raters were assigned to each night of the schedule in

addition to the investigator. Thus, on any given night, three raters

would be viewing and rating the same program schedule.

The actual content analysis occurred during the three weeks from

February 8 to February 28, 1977. Because of last minute changes in lo-

cal station schedules during the rating period, an additional week was

rated. Thus, three days during the addition week (3/4, 3/6, 3/7) were

either substituted or integrated into the planned rating period. Conse-

quently, each night rated represents as complete a schedule of regular,

primetime, dramatic programming as a given network ever offers on any


given night. News, documentary, variety, special, and local programs

were not rated.

The indeterminate category was used for all major conflicts of the

"Man versus Nature" and "Man versus Himself" varieties; only interper-

sonal, or "Man versus Man" conflicts were considered by this study.

Rater reliability was assessed by computing the degree to which

a given rater had scored in agreement with the investigator.


Chi-square tests of independence were used to test the null hypoth-

eses that conflict resolution types are independent of TV viewing. This

type of analysis was used in the present case because the chi-square

statistic is the most appropriate and well-known nonparametric measure

of independence; also, many of the projects upon which the present work

is based have employed this type of analysis (e.g., Gerbner & Gross, 1976;

McArthur & Resko, 1975). Additional chi-square analyses were used to

test for independence of CR types and the classification variables used;

viz., sex, printed news media read, income, education, age, marginality,

self-esteem, social interest, and complexity.

For each pair of variables tested in this way, Kendall's tau-b (tb)

was computed to measure the degree of linear association between the

pair. Although tb is generally less well-known than Spearman's rs,

The chief differences between Spearman's rs and Kendall's
tau seem to be that Kendall coefficients are somewhat
more meaningful when the data contain a large number of
tied ranks. As a rule of thumb, one might use tau
more readily when a fairly large number of cases were
classified into a relatively small number of categories
and rs when the ratio of cases to categories is smaller.
(Nie, Hull, Jenkins, Steinbrenner, Bent, 1975; p. 289)

AS "conflict" data from the survey were not necessarily continuous and

many tied rankings were observed, tb was deemed most suitable for the

present analysis.

To establish the independence of TV viewing effects from those of

other variables, additional frequency tables were constructed. These

tables considered TV viewing by endorsement of violent conflict resolu-

tion over five levels of education, news, social interest and marginal-

ity, nine levels of age, and two levels of sex. As income, self-esteem,

and complexity were not previously found to be associated with CR types,

they were not included in these analyses.

Although the absence of normal distributions within the CR scales

precluded the use of analyses of variance for statistical tests, this

limitation did not compromise the use of such analyses to obtain partial

correlation coefficients. Such coefficients were obtained between TV

viewing and the four types of CR, all other variables held constant.

This extra analysis was undertaken to further clarify the relationship

between TV viewing and violent CR.



In general, the experimental sample was more educated, made more

money, and watched less television (nearly half as much) as the median

American (Information Please Almanac, 1977; Nielsen, 1977; U. S. Bureau

of the Census, 1976). Furthermore, the median experimental respondent

was one year older than and twice as likely to be a man as the median

American. These demographic data are summarized in Table 1.

Data analysis revealed highly significant relationships among the

variables of interest. In general, five of the independent variables --

education, television viewing, social interest, sex, and age -- were

significantly related to endorsement of the different styles of conflict

resolution (CR). While the magnitude of these correlations, as defined

by Kendall's tau-b, rarely exceeded .2, the levels of significance were

usually at the .001 level. These data are summarized in Appendix E.

The reader should note that, because of the survey's construction,

negative correlations mean that as the value of the independent variable

increases, so too does the degree of approval for the given type of CR

being considered. Conversely, positive correlations indicate degree of

disapproval for a given type of CR.

Television viewing, the primary variable of interest, was clearly

associated with CR types endorsed, at a highly significant level. This

association was discerned with violence (tb = -.163; p = .0004) and

Table 1

Median Characteristics of the

Experimental Sample and the General U.S. Population

Characteristics Experimental Sample U.S. Population

Male-female ratio 1.906 0.975a

Family income $16,190.50 $13,719a

Age 30.0 years 28.8 years

Education 14.02 years 12.3 years

Daily TV viewing 2.13 hours 4.16 hours

aSource: Information Please Almanac, 1977.

bSource: Statistical Abstracts of the U. S.: 1976.

cSource: Nielsen Television 1977.

coercion (tb = -.149; p = .0009). TV viewing was also negatively corre-

lated with daily printed news media read (tb = -.078; p = .045) and with

question 26 responses (tb = -.074; p = .053). (It is recalled that

question 26 on the survey required estimates of the numbers of people

consulting mental health professionals.) Finally, a modest, but highly

significant correlation was observed between TV viewing and education

(tb = -.016; p = .0003).

Education was associated with CR types endorsed to an even greater

extent than TV viewing. Education was correlated with violence (tb =

.228; p = .0001), coercion (tb = .178; p = .0001), "moving away from"

(tb.= .161; p = .0004), and "moving toward" (tb = -.115; p = .011).
Other variables associated with endorsement of violent CR, in order

of magnitude, were social interest (tb = .145; p = .002), sex (tb =

-.139; p = .005), age (tb = -.106; p = .011), marginality (tb = .099;

p = .022), and question 25 responses (tb = .081; p = .046). (It is re-

called that question 25 involves estimates of the numbers of people who

resort to violence to resolve interpersonal conflicts.)

Additional variables associated with endorsement of coercive CR,

in order of magnitude, were social interest (tb = .14; p = .002) and age

(tb = -.074; p = .053).

Other variables associated with endorsement of "moving away from

others" to resolve conflicts were, in order of magnitude, age (tb =

.147; p = .0007), social interest (tb = .112; p = .012), sex (tb =

-.105; p = .022), marginality (tb = .102; p = .019), and complexity

(tb = .094; p = .02).

In addition to higher education, "moving toward" others to resolve

conflicts was associated with printed news media read (tb = .174; p =

.0002) and age (tb = .109; p = .011).


Further analysis revealed that education, sex, and social interest

did contribute to the relationship between TV viewing and violent CR, at

specific levels; age, printed news media read, and marginality demon-

strated no such effect. At the lowest level of education, a far greater

percentage of heavy viewers than light viewers endorsed violent CR. As

education increased, this difference lessened; after two years of col-

lege, there was no difference between the percentage of heavy viewers

and the percentage of light viewers who endorsed violent CR. The rela-

tionship between TV viewing and violent CR over different levels of edu-

cation is depicted in Figure 2.

Further analysis over the two levels of sex revealed that a greater

percentage of female heavy viewers than male heavy viewers endorsed vio-

lent CR; while a greater percentage of male light viewers than female

light viewers did the same. This phenomenon is depicted in Figure 3.

A differential effect on the relationship between TV viewing and

violent CR was also observed over different levels of social interest.

While heavy viewers were unaffected by this variable, light viewers

tended to endorse violent CR at lower levels of social interest. This

tendency is depicted in Figure 4.

The analysis of variance yielded partial correlation matrices which

changed little as different variables were held constant. That is, the

relationship between TV viewing and endorsement of the four CR types did

not change when age, sex, education, social interest, and printed news

media read were held constant. The correlation between TV and violent

CR, for example, ranged from -.195 (holding education constant) to -.223

(holding age constant), p = .0005. The relationships between TV viewing

and the other CR types varied in parallel with violence, the effect of


'44 0)
o 420
> o

ao'o a
0 0 .

1 2 3

Education Level

Figure 2. Percentage of Heavy and Light
Viewers Endorsing Violent Conflict Resolution,
by Education (N=336).


Sbo 40

oa a 30

> 20
4 4 O rW

0 1 10
o ,., I 0

~' 'Light

Males Females

Figure 3. Percentage of Heavy and Light
Viewers Endorsing Violent Conflict Resolution.
by Sex (N = 339).


U mU
80 4 Heavy
( OJ41I
20 0 W
o o

S$a \ / Light
Sto I d O0
1 2 3 4 5

Ziller Social Interest

Figure 4. Percentage of Heavy and Light Viewers
Endorsing Violent Conflict Resolution, by Social
Interest (N=321).

education reducing the correlation's magnitude, the effect of age in-

creasing it. Significance levels were not notably affected. Thus, the

correlations between TV viewing and coercion ranged from -.163 to -.195,

p = .005; TV viewing and avoidance from -.100 to -.129, p = .07; and TV

viewing and "moving toward" from .102 to .127, p = .07. The correlation

of greatest magnitude on each partial correlation matrix was observed be-

tween violence and coercion, in the range of .43, p = .0001. The com-

plete correlation matrix from which the partial matrices were derived

is reproduced in Appendix F.

Content Analysis

The average daily totals of major conflict resolution types and

violent episodes are listed by rater in Appendix G. Also included in

this table are the "Standard" (the investigator's scores) and the devia-

tions of each rater from that standard. It should be noted that the

ratings for March 6 and 7 were substituted for those from February 13

and 14. These changes were necessitated by unscheduled programming


Of the 50 major conflicts viewed during the sample period, ten of

them, 17%, were indeterminate due to the absence of a major "Man vs.

Man" conflict. Of the remaining 49 scorable major conflicts, 23 (47%)

were resolved by "moving toward," 20 (41%) were resolved by violence, 4

(8%) were resolved by coercion, and 2 (4%) were resolved by "moving

away from."

Of the 347 violent episodes scored, 286 (82%) were intended, in

context, to resolve interpersonal conflicts, 54 (16%) were used for dra-

matic description, and 7 (2%) were used gratuitously, having no conflict

resolving or nonredundant descriptive purpose in context.

Rater reliability was variable across all dimensions. As a group,

raters scored conflict resolution type correctly 80% of the time, total

violent episodes 100% of the time, and total specific violent ratings

64% of the time. "Total specific violence ratings" is the total number

of deviations from the standard within each violent episode category

(Vc, Vd, Vg); when the three most unreliable raters are not considered,

this quantity increases to 69%. The total deviations from all standards

of each rater and the percent of the time each rater agree with the

standard are found in Appendix G.

In the 52 hours of primetime programming observed, mental health

professionals were mentioned, even fleetingly, eight times. Of these

references, only two were judged "positive" by all participating raters.

The remaining six were depicted, in context, as incompetent, criminal,

or weird; these references were judged to be "negative" by all partici-

pating raters.



Data indicate that heavy television viewers tend to accept violence

as an acceptable means of resolving interpersonal conflicts to a greater

extent than do light viewers. The high degree of statistical signifi-

cance associated with this finding is all the more striking in that far

lesser relationships were found between TV viewing and endorsement of

"moving away" and "moving toward" as CR strategies. Heavy and light

viewers expressed equal approval for these methods. On the other hand,

violence and coercion, i.e., "moving against" others to resolve inter-

personal conflicts, were clearly more acceptable to heavy viewers than

to light viewers.

This finding is consistent with the view that heavy viewers tend

to share TV's portrayal of effective CR; for, as seen later in this

chapter, the medium resolves most of its major conflicts by the antag-

onists' "moving against" one another. The fact that violence is in-

volved in relatively few conflicts in real life (Baker & Ball, 1969b)

further suggests that heavy viewers may well share the CR standards set

by the tube.

While the relationship between TV viewing and violent conflict

resolution was found to exist independently of competing variables, some

variation was found within levels of education and social interest.

In general, the more educated and socially interested the person,

the more likely he was to endorse "moving toward" and to reject vio-

lence, coercion, and "moving away from." This finding is consistent

with the views of Blake and Mouton, among others, some of whom are cited

earlier. They all maintain that successful nonviolent CR depends upon

concern for others and a well-informed concern for results. This find-

ing additionally confirms Ziller's suggestion that social interest is

important in determining the manner in which an individual confronts

conflict. It is also interesting to note that the more educated the re-

spondent, the less likely he was to watch television altogether.

While heavy viewers reflected much of television's portrayal of

conflict resolution, they also seemed to reflect the medium's view of

mental health professionals. Specifically, heavy viewers were likely to

underestimate the degree to which individuals patronize mental health

professionals to a significantly greater extent than were light viewers.

Although mental health professionals specialize in the solution of real-

world interpersonal conflicts, this finding was not surprising. Rather,

it indicates, from another perspective, both TV's contrived view of

conflict management and the viewing public's tendency to accept it. The

situation suggested by the study's albeit limited attention to mental

health professionals is summarized as follows: If mental health pro-

fessionals are rarely consulted to manage TV conflicts (four times in 52

hours of programming) and if 75% of the mental health professionals por-

trayed on TV are themselves either crazy or criminal, then why should

the heavy viewer think otherwise! Only future research can establish if

this is indeed the case.

Content Analysis

The content analysis was generally as expected. Most TV violence

is used, in context, to resolve interpersonal conflicts. Moreover, vio-

lence and talk ("moving toward") occur with almost equal frequency as

the means by which most major conflicts are resolved.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is the unusually low percentage

of major conflicts which were resolved by coercion and avoidance ("mov-

ing away from"). This is surprising because of the predominance of

these conflict management styles in real life; especially when one

grants that neurotic behavior patterns are frequently stylized mecha-

nisms for avoiding confrontation, compromise, or other direct conflict

resolution strategies. On primetime television, then, conflict resolu-

tion reduces to "talk" or "hit"; the subtleties, uncertainties and neu-

rotic behaviors of real life are rarely considered.

Another unexpected aspect of the content analysis was the less than

optimal performance of the raters. This situation arose for several

reasons: 1) Extra, unanticipated training sessions were required, al-

though it proved impossible to coordinate individual schedules, thereby

limiting the degree of rater attendance; 2) raters, all college fresh-

men, were limited with regard to the amount of TV they could view, as

well as to the availability of television sets; 3) training procedures

were unrefined; 4) rater compensation was inadequate for the time spent;

5) raters often behaved irresponsibly.

Despite these limitations, rater reliability was adequate for pre-

sent purposes. Data clearly indicate that the scoring system employed

in this project is not idiosyncratic to the investigator, and that it

can be taught to others. Given real facilities, ample time, adequate

rater compensation, and a more mature, committed group of raters, the

degree of reliability among raters would certainly increase.


In general, the experimental hypotheses were confirmed. Television

does use violence primarily to resolve interpersonal conflicts, and it

does so at a level grossly disproportionate with real-life. Moreover,

television's most frequently employed means for resolving the major con-

flicts of primetime dramas is "moving against others," especially by

violent means. The other CR types, which necessarily predominate the

reality of any democratic, nonanarchistic society, are relatively under-

emphasized by commercial television.

Heavy television viewers were found to share the medium's endorse-

ment of violence to resolve interpersonal conflicts to a significantly

greater extent than light viewers. This effect was especially pro-

nounced when the heavy viewer had less formal education. To a lesser

extent, increasing age, masculinity, and decreasing social interest also

contributed to viewers' tendencies to share TV's portrayal of reality.

In any event, the relationship between TV viewing and endorsement of

"moving against" others to resolve conflicts was found to exist. In

addition, this effect was found to exist independently of the effect of

other variables.

To the extent that television overemphasizes the "moving against"

approach to conflict resolution, it can be concluded that heavy viewers

are more likely to share TV's portrayal of effective conflict resolution

than are light viewers. It is clear, however, that TV viewing alone is



not responsible for this fact, although it appears to contribute signif-

icantly. Further research, perhaps employing detailed developmental in-

formation regarding subjects, will be necessary to really understand the

influence that TV may have in conveying its conceptions of reality to

its heavy viewers. Until then, the knowledge that some significant ef-

fect does exist between TV viewing and endorsement of violent CR may

signal one direction that future such inquiries may take.


The conflict resolution survey was intended to discriminate differ-

ences in the extent to which individuals endorse different styles of

conflict resolution. It was written because, other than Hall's lengthy

and expensive Conflict Management Survey (1973a), no similar instrument

was available.

The basis of this survey is a series of stories, each of which in-

volves an interpersonal conflict between two people. Each story, or

item, is followed by the question, "To what extent do you agree with

's strategy for resolving the disagreement with ?" Re-

spondents may then choose one of the five answers on the following

Likert-type scale.

In addition to involving a conflict between two people, each story

was constructed to accommodate the following: 1) The two people are not

related; 2) the two people are the same sex and socioeconomic status;

3) the two people are peers; 4) the disagreement could realistically be

resolved by the antagonists' "moving toward" one another.

In November 1976, an early version of the questionnaire was admin-

istered to 130 psychology students. Unfortunately, this sample yielded

only eight heavy viewers (four or more hours of daily viewing); and data

were insufficient to suggest any discrimination between heavy and light

viewers. Also, the questionnaire's format, which included ten stories,

questions regarding the conflicts' probable outcomes, and a scoring sys-

tem combining all ten responses, proved unworkable.


During subsequent discussions with Dr. Robert Ziller, it was decid-

ed to alter the conflict resolution items. Thus, the ten items were in-

creased to sixteen, with the conflict already resolved, four for each of

the different types of conflict resolution defined. (See p. 7 of the

Rater Scoring Manual in Appendix C for a detailed discussion of these

definitions and their origins.) The current version of the question-

naire, then, consists of four scales of four items each, followed by the

question and possible responses mentioned in the second paragraph. This

format was far less exotic than the first, and it was felt to have a

considerable degree of face validity.

A version of the revised questionnaire was administered to thirty

employees of the Gainesville Public Library. Split half reliability co-

efficients were as follows for the four scales: T=.92; C=.47; V=.52;

A=.24. Except for the "avoidance" scale, these coefficients were deemed

acceptable. "Avoidance" items were re-written, as were some of the

other items.

In addition to the sixteen conflict resolution items, the final

questionnaire includes seven personal information items, three public

opinion-type questions concerning conflict (after Gerbner, 1976), and

four scales (twelve items) from Ziller's Self-Other Orientation Instru-

ment. Ziller hypothesizes that the characteristics tapped by these

scales should influence the manner in which individuals are likely to

resolve conflicts.

Dear City Worker,

This is a survey which deals with conflicts (or disagreements) between
people and how such conflicts are settled. It is an important part of a large
research study being undertaken at the University of Florida that deals with
aspects of our society that affect all of us. The project's success depends
upon getting many different peoples' response to this survey. As a result,
the City of Gainesville has agreed to let us ask you for your help. If you do
decide to help, please note:

1) Your participation is completely anonymous. No names are used anywhere in
this project; and all completed surveys should be placed and sealed in the
envelopes provided to absolutely insure confidentiality.
2) If you do decide to participate, you must do so on your own time.
3) The information gained from this investigation will be used strictly for
educational purposes, and the results may be published nationally.
I) The results of this study, including what it finally proved, will appear
in the next issue of the City newsletter K.N.O.W.
5) Return completed survey to your department's administrative office, the City
Hall mailroom, or wherever you receive your paycheck. Please do this no
later than Friday, March 11, 1977.
6) You are absolutely under no obligation to participate in this study. You
may refuse to complete the questionnaire at any time. However,
even a partial response will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot. Your help will really make a difference in our efforts to
discover facts about our lives that have never even been studied in the past.


Directions: Place the correct letter (A,B,C,D, or E) in the answer space to the right of
each question number.

1. Even though Jane and Harriet are roommates, Jane does not want Harriet, or anyone else,
to drive her car. Although Harriet knows this, her own car is broken and she needs to
go into town. Harriet is getting very mad because she's trapped at home while Jane's
car Just sits in the driveway. Finally, she tells Jane that unless Jane lets her use
the car, she won't let Jane use her TV, the only one in the house. To what extent
do you agree with Harriet's way of resolving the conflict with Jane?
A) I strongly agree B) I agree C) I'm undecided D) I disagree E) I strongly disagree
2. Barney and Ed share a house. Barney spends most of his spare time working on cars.
As a result, their yard is beginning to look more and more like a garage. Ed, who
does not share Barney's passion for cars, is getting increasingly upset by the way
their house looks; and so, he explains his feelings to Barney and asks him to limit
his work area to a small part of the yard. -- To what extent do you agree with
Barney's strategy for resolving the conflict with Ed?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
3. Theresa is sick and tired of Kathy's constant put-downs, even though Kathy is Just
Joking. Usually, Theresa tries to be good-natured about it, but today she decides
that if Kathy does it one more time, she will throw her glass of water all over
Kathy to teach her a lesson. -- To what extent do you agree with Theresa's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
i3. John's habit of forgetting appointments is beginning to get on his partner Dave's
nerves, especially because this habit has lost them several accounts. In an effort
to preserve their partnership, however, Dave decides not to make an issue of it.
To what extent do you agree with Dave's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
5. George is convinced that his production method is better than that of his partner
Hank. Because of this, George is constantly promoting his own ideas while putting
down Hank's ideas behind his back. Hank is becoming increasingly upset about this,
and so he asks George to sit down with him to discuss their differences and to work
together toward developing the best production method. -- To what extent do you
agree with Hank's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
6. Harvey is angry at Bob because Bob had agreed to help him move, but then changed his
mind. Although both men have been close friends for a long time, Harvey refuses to
talk to Bob because of the broken promise. -- To what extent do you agree with
Harvey's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
7. Barbarn and Carol are roommates. Although Barbara never mentions it, she is con-
stantly irritated by Carol's sloppiness. Carol, on the other hand, seems never to
think about neatness. Returning home one night, Barbara gets so mad at seeing a
sinkful of dirty dishes that she tells Carol to clean up or else move out. -- To
what extent do you agree with Barbara's strategy?
A) strongly agree I agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
Eatelle and Bea have known eeah other for a long time. As a result, Estelle is es-
pecially irritated at a recent PTA meeting, because whenever she enters the group's
discussion, Bea cuts her off. After the meeting, Estelle tells Bea that if she in-
terrupts her at the next meeting, she'll kick her hard under the conference table.
To what extent do you agree with Estelle's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree

9. Darlene has a tendency to take up at least two spaces whenever she parks her car.
Her next door neighbor, Ann, is becoming more and more irritated with this behavior
because Darlene's car is almost always in Ann's parking space. However, Ann doesn't
want to make a big issue out of the whole thing, and she decides not to say anything
about it to Darlene. -- To what extent do you agree with Ann's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agrce C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
10. Sam and Fred are fellow football addicts. Thin Sunday, they're watching TV at Sam's
house. Unfortunately, they have a real disagreement about which game to watch. Sam
does not want to argue; and so, he decides that because it's his house, they'll watch
the game he wants to see. -- To what extent do you agree with Sam's strategy?
A) strongly agree I) arree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
11. Linda and Elaine own a srall shop, and business has not been too good. Linda believes
that unless they raise prices, they will go bankrupt. Elaine disagrees; she feels
that their low prices will ultimately pay off in greater sales. Despite high emotions,
the two wonen discuss the matter in an attempt to reach the best solution. To what
extent do you agree with their strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
12. Bill is playing tennin with Pay, his usual partner. After one set, it is clear to
Bill that fay wants to win more than he usually does, as Ray is calling every close
situation in his own favor. Bill is beginning to stew. The next time that Ray "gets
the score wrong," Bill stops playing, walks over to his opponent and angrily offers to
ran his new racquet down Ray's throat if one more "misunderstanding" occurs. -- To
what extent do you agree with Bill's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
13. _Fred and Jim have been good neighbors for ten years. Recently, Fred has noticed that
Jim has been borrowing things in good condition and returning them broken. Fred is
getting mail. He decides to purposely break Jim's lawnmower before returning it just
to see how Jim likes getting his property broken. -- To what extent do you agree
with Fred's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
1l.. Sandra is continually annoyed by Gwen, a person with whom she works. Sandra decides
that the only way to resolve this conflict is to talk honestly with Gwen about what
she's doing and ask her to stop. -- To what extent do you agree with Sandra's
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
15. Art and Ted occupy neighboring apartments. Art has recently bought a new hi-fl set
which he now plays almost all the time. Ted thinks the volume is too loud, and he is
irritated, He decides that the best way to handle the situation is to call the super-
intendent to get him to make Art turn it down. -- To what extent do you agree with
Ted's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree
16. Alice and Sue have been good friends for a long time. Alice's new boyfriend, however,
is difficult to get to know, Iis manner of speaking, his clothing, and his general be-
havior all seem weird to Sue; and she finds him obnoxious to be with. Because she
doesn't want to hurt her friend's feelings, Sue begins seeing Alice less and less.
To what extent do you agree with Alice's strategy?
A) strongly agree B) agree C) undecided D) disagree E) strongly disagree

17. What is your marital status? A) married B) single

18. What is your sex? A) male B) female

19. How much time, on the average, do you spend reading newspapers and news magazines
per day? A) no time B) 1/2 hour C) 1 hour D) 1-1/2 hours E) 2 or more hours

20. How many hours of television, on the average, do you watch per day?
A) 0-2 B) 3 C) 4 D) 5 E) 6 F) 7 or more

21. What is the combined annual income of you and your spouse (if you are married)?

(answer here):

22. How many years of education have you had, including grade and high school?

23. What is your present age?

** **

24. Which of the following most closely reflects your views?
A) Generally, people either use or threaten to use violence to get their way.
8) Most of the time, people try to work out disagreements with others in ways that
encourage cooperation or compromise.
C) When confronted with a conflict or disagreement, most people will try to avoid
dealing with it altogether.
D) Most people do not use violence, but do Just about anything else to get their way.

25. In your opinion, out of every IOo1 people, how many regulArly use or threaten to
use violence to resolve conflicts with others?
A) 10 B) 100 C) 250 D) 500 E) 750 F) more than 750

26. In your opinion, out of every 1000 people, about how many have visited a psycholo-
gist, prychiatrints, social worker, marriage counselor, or other personal problem
counselor at least once?
A) 1 B) 10 C) 100 D) 250 E) 500 F) more than 500

27. The two figures below stand for two groups of people you know. The small circles
stand for people. Draw a circle to stand for Yourself anywhere in the space below.

2R. The circles below stand for friends, family, and work group. Draw a circle
to stand for Yourself anywhere in the space below.


29. The circles below stand for people. Mark each circle with the letter (or
letters) standing for one of the people in the list. Do this in any way you
like, but use each person only once and do not omit anyone.

F Someone who is falling In business
H The happiest person you know
K Someone you know who is kind
GT The strongest person you know

S Yourself
GU Someone you know who is

30. The two figures below stand for two groups of people you know. The small
circles stand for people. Draw a circle to stand for Yourself anywhere in
the space below.

31. The circles below stand for friends, family, and work group. Draw a circle
to stand for Yournelf anywhere in the space belou.

@ @

32. The circles below stand for people. Mark each circle with the letter (or
letters) standing for one of the people in the list. Do this in any way you
like, but use each person only once and do not omit anyone.

D Doctor
Pa Father

Fr Friend
M Mother

S Yourself
C Clergyman

33. The two figures below stand for two groups of people you know. The small
circles stand for people. Draw a circle to stand for Yourself anywhere in the
apace below.

31. The circles below stand for people. Mark each circle with the letter (or
letters) standing for one of the people in the list. Do this in any way you
like, but use each person only once and do not omit anyone.

A Someone you know who is a good athlete
P Someone you know who is popular
F Someone you know who is funny

U Someone you know who is unhappy
G Someone who knows a great deal
S Yourself


35. The circles below stand for friends, family, and work group.
to stand for Yourself anywhere in the space below.

Draw a circle


, -

40. The circles below stand for people. Mark each circle vith the letter (or
letters) standing for one of the people in the list. Do this in any way
you Like, but useeach person only once and do not omit anyone.

D Doctor U Someone you knov who is unsuccessful
F Father N Nurse
Fr Friend 8 Yourself


Instructions: Here is a list of words. Please read the words quickly and check each one
that you think described YOU. You may check as many or as few vords as you like-but be
RHO ST. Don't check vords that tell what kind of a person you should be. Check words
that tell what kind of a person you really are.

_ able













































































































Scoring the Conflict Questionnaire

1. Write the letters V,C, A, & D just below # 16.

2. Change each lettered answer to numbers, by writing in the numbers

just to the left of each letter, according to the following code:

A=l, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5.

3. With the help of a scoring key, write in the numbers for each scale

under the appropriate letter (V,C,A, or D).

4. Average the scores for each scale (that is, add up the four numbers

and divide by four) and circle the average. These average scale

scores are what finally is entered on the large data sheet.


5. At the bottom of the last page, add the following four groups of

letters: M, SE, SI, Comp. These letters stand for Ziller's four

scales: Marginality, self esteem, social interest, and complexity.

6. Next to each of the items 27-40, write the score of the item. When

all items have been scored (according to #7 below), place the scores

under the appropriate columns (i.e., M, SE, SI, or Comp) and total

them. This total score is what finally is entered on the large data

sheet under M, SE, SI, and Comp.

7. Marginality (nos. 27,30,33,37): If the circle is within a figure

or touching it, score zero; if the circle is outside a figure or

outside the rectangle, score one.

Social interest (nos. 28,31,35,39): If the circle appears anywhere

within the largest triangle formed by the three large circles, score

one; if it appears outside the triangle, score zero.

Self esteem (nos. 29,32,35,36,38,40): Number the circles from 1-6,

and starting on the right. The score/item equals the circle number

where the Y appears.

Complexity (adjectives): Add total number of words checked.

On the large data sheet, now add the following information per test:

1) The four conflict resolution scores (See 1-4 above to compute)

2) Items 17-23, as they appear on the test

3) Items 24-26.

4) The four Ziller scale scores (See 5-7 above to compute)


-o.i:,uta','-ie* r':ur., 1'7,."

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it-..:=:--u 'c l.,....-L j i..;opL? ifel a.out strategies for
: 'iAt. ii .: :.;i. .;l,'; rl;r i :; withll Othilrl's, IIhl! o;;*l -
.... .i.; p::.t. i a lar.i. .e :t Ai .invt; lie i c on]ducL.
1 ;*i,.ii' :i' -:tpar:,ient; of Clinical P[ycho1oLt/.
.::i,:cdii to I avid Ir,.-aces, the project 'sj
di r-ct.r, "City e::iployes curarise a wide
.t',-' ,;' :, alind education levels.
iHopeI'u.L:,', t hr.fore, City eaqloyees will be
is: i.:pfr'-:-:;,Ur L.t.'.i *e of the- general populatiJol
i, .;: c:n ;-t w;ihi ag' 0. one local 61oup. This
i vt .y im: 'oL rint for a ,tudy like this one;
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;.ilowiu .;; cress to its eip.-oyees." Frar,-
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i! ti i ,.:I.. 1.u. of *y.

Conflict and Television

David Frances, of the UF Department of Clinical Psychology wishes

to thank all 344 City workers who completed his "Conflict Survey." Be-

cause of their participation, his study of the effects of heavy TV view-

ing on interpersonal conflict resolution is yielding high significant

results. In addition to the survey, Frances, and 10 trained "raters,"

observed three weeks of primetime television; they determined how the

major interpersonal conflicts were resolved in the shows viewed and also

the intent of all violent episodes observed.

While analysis of his data continues, Frances has already concluded

the following: 1) 82% of the violent episodes observed on primetime

television were intended to resolve interpersonal conflicts; 2) of the

major conflicts observed, 47% were resolved by the opponents' "moving

toward" one another (as, for example, by discussion or compromise), 41%

were resolved by violence, 8% were resolved by nonviolent coercion, and

4% were resolved by avoidance of the conflict by the opponents; 3) heavy

television viewers (4 or more hours of viewing per day) are more likely

than light viewers to endorse violence and coercion as suitable ways to

settle disagreements with others; 4) heavy viewers are more likely to

over-estimate the extent to which others in real-life use violence to

resolve conflicts, and they are more likely to underestimate the number

of people who seek help from mental health professionals.

In general, Frances found that men who are older, less educated,

and less socially aware were much more likely to endorse violent con-


flict resolution than others. The psychologist is still trying to de-

termine if TV viewing actually influences how people resolve conflicts

or if other factors are more important in this regard.

So far, data suggest that the more TV a person watches, the more

likely he is to accept TV's portrayal of appropriate conflict resolution

among people, even though the role of violence in resolving TV conflicts

is highly exaggerated from real life.


This manual consists of instructions for observing and recording

major conflicts and violent action that occur on primetime television

dramas. The following pages contain detailed definitions for the con-

cepts of interest and how these concepts are to be scored.

Rater Training

Following a short introductory session, training will proceed

in three steps:

1) The first step in training is careful study of this manual. The

code to be used is detailed, and reliable rating requires thorough

knowledge of it. Following initial reading of the manual, you will take

a short test on its contents. Answers will be discussed with the exper-

imenter who will encourage questions of all types regarding the rating

of TV shows, according to the rules described.

2) Following introduction to and discussion of the manual, you will

view and code videotaped segments of actual TV programs. These segments

will contain examples of the types of behavior to be observed during the

study proper. When all such segments have been viewed, your codings

will be discussed with the experimenter.

3) Between the second and third training sessions (and between sub-

sequent sessions as needed), you will rate several pre-arranged TV shows

for homework. Rating sheets will be submitted and discussed at the next

session. The procedure of rating program segments during training ses-

sions and rating entire shows between sessions will be repeated until a

rater achieves a reliability coefficient of .9. At this point, you are

a certified rater.


For this code to be useful, it must be reliable; i.e., different

observers viewing the same program must code the same behaviors in the

same way. Therefore, the coding produced by you will be compared to

that of the principal investigator during training and compared to the

results of all other raters during the actual study. A statistical

estimate of reliability will be computed from both sets of comparisons.

To facilitate such calculations, each rater will code in duplicate with

carbon paper which will be provided. The primary investigator will keep

all rating sheets on file to determine both the extent of progress as

well as specific scoring problems.

In short, for your reliability coefficient to be as high as possi-

ble, you must: a) Learn the scoring rules thoroughly, and b) attend

closely to each program coded.

Method of viewing

In using this code, you may view a program anywhere, alone or with

others; however, if with others, you may not solicit or accept "help" or

advice from anyone else regarding scoring. When in doubt, rely exclu-

sively on your own judgement.

All scoring is to be undertaken on a codesheet like the one appear-

ing at the end of this manual. The sheet includes space for noting the

following information: Program identification information, major pro-

tagonists, major conflict, and violence totals; type, time of occur-

rence, characters involved in and brief description of specific violent

episodes. Each program viewed will require a new codesheet.

Upon completion of an evening's viewing (post-training), all code-

sheets used will be deposited and sealed in the appropriately dated ma-

nila envelope which will be provided for every evening of viewing.

I. Definition of conflict:

A conflict exists when two people wish to carry out acts
which are mutually inconsistent. A conflict is
resolved when some mutually consistent set of actions is
worked out. (Nicholson, 1970, p. 2)

A. To better understand conflicts and their resolution, it would

be well to examine the respective roles of these dramatic elements in

context. Toward this end, one can divide all stories into five major

stages (Brashers, 1968). These stages, which correspond to the five

acts of Classical dramatic theory, are:

1. Induction to the problem, conflict or tension

2. Complications -- rising action

3. Climax choice turning point

4. Consequence -- falling action

5. Denouement resolution

B. Thus, the conflict and its primary participants usually become

apparent early in a drama, the hero's strategy for resolving the con-

flict is made definite in the middle, and the success of that strategy

is seen near the end. The analysis of any conflict, therefore, will

have to include the designation of the following items, usually in this


1. The antagonists

2. The major conflict

3. The type of conflict resolution employed

II. Major antagonists

A. Definition of major antagonists: These are the main opponents

in the drama, and they are usually identifiable within the first few

minutes of most shows. The literary importance of their antagonism is

expressed by Brashers (1968):

Aesthetically, what causes us to perceive the beginning of
an action is the delineation of one cause against another,
one character against an adversary. The induction
is ended when this major question is clear to the reader.
(p. 183)

B. How to identify the major antagonists

1. They are featured "starring" artists, appearing on the

show regularly.

2. They are featured "guest stars."

3. Occasionally, as with a movie or weekly "serialized book"

formats (e.g., Rich Man, Poor Man or Executive Suite) which may involve

many new characters, major antagonists may not be immediately evident;

fortunately, by the show's conclusion (as with all other shows), they

will be.

III. The major conflict

A. The major conflict is most evident during a show's most climac-

tic moment. The nature of this relationship is as follows:

The fundamental problem, conflict, or tension will
remain unresolved until the major crisis or climax. The
climax is the moment of choice--the turning point of the
problem, as Aristotle called it--in which the hero through
action or choice becomes irrevocably committed to one side
or the other of the problem. Everything that goes before
anticipates this moment of critical choice, and everything
that comes after results from it It need not be the
most violent incident (and usually isn't), but it is the
most critical. It is the point of no return to other
possibilities entertained during the complication stage.
(Brashers, p. 185)


B. There are three basic types of dramatic conflict (Field,

1958); this study is only concerned with the first of these:

1. Man against man

2. Man against his own consicence

3. Man against nature

C. Do not score any shows whose primary conflict depicts "man

against nature." That is, if the rater concludes that the conflict is

between Man and a nonhuman opponent (e.g., Mt. Everest, fate, natural

disaster), no scoring is necessary other than the designation "man

against nature." Of course, it may well take the whole show to deter-

mine that the more detailed scoring was not necessary!

D. Do not score "man against his own conscience" conflicts unless

a man's conscience brings him into conflict with others (in which case

the major conflict would involve "man against man"). As this study is

concerned only with interpersonal conflict, strictly internal conflict

which does not affect others in a major way is not appropriate for con-


E. If either "nature" or "conscience" conflicts involve an antago-

nistic interpersonal relationship, then do score it. Such a situation

involving "nature," might include a human who is somehow instrumental in

generating, fostering, or supporting the nonhuman opposition to the


F. How to state the major conflict (after it has been deemed "man

to man")

1. State the major conflict as succinctly as possible in two

mutually inconsistent sentences.

a. The first sentence should clearly indicate the prin-

cipal motivation for the entire dramatic situation; i.e., it should in-

dicate whatever the character who initiates the dramatic situation

wants. The general construction of the first sentence is as follows:


b. The second sentence should indicate the opposition to

the first. This is usually accomplished by changing the sentence's sub-

ject and by adding the words "does (or do) not" before the word wants.

The general construction of the second sentence, then, is: New subject-

does not want-object.

2. Examples:

a. Bad guy wants to rob banks.

Kojak does not want the bad guy to rob banks.

b. Rhoda wants Joe to return.

Joe does not want Joe to return.

c. Pappy wants to rescue friend's brother.

Japanese don't want Pappy to rescue friend's brother.

d. Phyllis wants Mary to confirm Phyllis' lovability.

Mary does not want to confirm Phyllis' lovability.

3. As with designation of conflict type, it may not be possi-

ble to specify the major conflict until well into or after the show.

This may be especially true with some suspense or mystery shows.

IV. Conflict resolution

A. According to Homey (1945), there are three ways in which in-

terpersonal conflicts may be resolved. For the present study, one of

these categories has been divided into two new classifications. The re-

sulting four categories are the basis of the content analysis phase of

this study, and they are defined below. Raters are required to indicate

one of them for every program viewed (except for "serialized book" for-

mats which usually contain at least three major conflicts).

B. Types of conflict resolution

1. Moving toward people (T): Any effort between disagreeing

parties toward purposeful discussion, compromise, negotiation, or other

forms of direct communication which take the viewpoints of both sides

into account. In short, this situation is present whenever antagonists

confront one another, verbally or otherwise, with the goal of resolving

conflicts in a nonviolent, equitable manner.

2. Moving away from people (A): This is when an individual

"wants neither to belong nor to fight, but keeps apart. He feels he has

not much in common with them, they do not understand him anyhow"

(Horney, p. 42). This situation may also be characterized as avoidance,

withdrawal, or nonparticipation; it is a position in which an individual

takes no responsibility for resolving the conflict, hoping instead that

it "will go away" or "resolve itself."

Moving against people: Here, an individual .
accepts and takes for granted the hostility around him,
and determines, consciously or unconsciously, to fight.
He implicitly distrusts the feelings and intentions of
others toward himself. He rebels in whatever ways are
open to him. He wants to be the stronger and defeat
them partly for his own protection, partly for revenge.
(Homey, p. 42)

a. Violence (V) -- According to Baker and Ball (1969b):

Violence is defined to include physical or psycho-
logical injury, hurt, or death, addressed to living
things. Violence is explicit and overt. It can be
verbal or physical. If verbal, it must express
intent to use physical force and must be plausible
and credible in the context of the program. Idle,
distant, or vague threats; mere verbal insult,
quarrels, or abuse; or comic threats with no violent
intent behind them are not to be considered vio-
lent. (p. 534)

b. Coercion (C) -- Refers to all nonviolent efforts

to "move against people." Coercion invariably means that one party im-

poses his way on another, with little or no regard for discussion with

the other. According to Hornstein (1971): ". changes are made

when the opponent no longer has an effective choice between conceding

or refusing to accept the demands" (p. 540). Examples of coercion

are blackmail, nonviolent threats, direct orders, and union strikes.

Note: If initially coercive methods result in the antagonists' re-

solving the conflict through discussion, then score as T.

V. Violent action

A. Definition of violent episode -- The unit for recording violent

acts in this study is the violent episode which is defined by Baker and

Ball as

S. a scene of whatever duration which concerns the
same agent and the same receiver. Thus, a battle scene
would be one episode; a chase scene with a posse pursuing
a man would be one episode, even if interrupted by flash-
backs to other scenes; an attack by one person on a second,
in the course of which a third person attacks the first,
would be two episodes. (p. 534)

B. Types of violent action

1. Essential violence -- This is violence which is essential

to the story being told. There are two types of essential violence:

a. Conflict resolving violence (Vc): This refers to any

violent act which is purposeful in an interpersonal context. Unless the

act is totally frivolous, there will likely be a conflict, problem or

tension involving others which the violence is intended to alleviate.

In many cases, the conflict so identified will not be the major con-

flict, but rather a more immediate, momentary, or local situation which

must be resolved.

b. Descriptive violence (Vd): This refers to violent

acts which are necessary to describe the emotional states of their per-

petrators. Violence would only be "necessary" in this case if the per-

petrator has not already been described nonviolently (as, for example,

if the perpetrator or another character has already verbally described

the perpetrator's emotional state).

2. Non-essential gratuitous violence (Vg): As defined by

Sen. Pastore (Gunther, 1977) and others, gratuitous violence is violence

that isn't essential to the story being told. In terms of this study,

Vg violence is unessential for characterization (description) and it

cannot be construed as conflict resolving. Generally, Vg violence

serves no recognizable purpose other than the amusement of its practi-

tioners; e.g., shooting guns at stop signs, acts of sadism, or fun-


VI. Rules for scoring violent action -- Every violent episode should be

noted consecutively in an appropriate coding sheet box: Indicate Vc,

Vd, or Vg in the upper left corner, the time of occurrence in the lower

right, and a short description of the episode in the remainder of the


The following is a list of rules to help in identifying, counting,

and describing violent episodes. Much of this material is derived or

directly quoted from Harvey (Note 7).

A. Basic types of violent episode

1. Use of force examples:

a. Two children argue, and one hits the other.

b. A spaceship attacks another ship with a ray.

2. Threat of force -- examples:

a. A criminal yells "I'll get you someday" to an arrest-

ing policeman. (If the remainder of the show reveals that this was

merely "an idle, distant, or vague threat," then do not count this as a

violent episode.)

b. A villain leaves a note reading "You must die!"

3. Intent of force -- example:

a. In a bank robbery, the criminals carry guns.

B. Special cases

1. Do not code other kinds of bad behavior; e.g., cheating,

lying, tattling, yelling without expression of physical threat ("I hate

you, you idiot"), etc. Exception -- If the intent of the behavior is

clearly to harm another, code it as violent; e.g., a mobster lies about

another to his boss, knowing the boss will have the other killed.

2. Scene changes -- When scenes change, code as separate epi-

sodes, except where scene change is continuous (as when villain holds

hero at gunpoint from one building into a car and, finally, into another

building). Examples:

a. Two people fighting inside building. Scene abruptly

changes to different location with implied time change. Violent action

may be different but not necessarily. Score as two violent episodes.

b. When a character holds a hostage, with a gun or

knife, code each scene change (change in time, possibly location) as an

additional instance.

3. Chase scenes

a. When one person is chasing another with intent to

kill or injure, code once. If chaser catches victim, and perpetrates

any other action against him, do not code an additional instance (unless

new people, not involved in the chase, participate in the activities

following the chase).

b. Sometimes a chase scene will involve policemen after

a criminal and hostage. The camera may switch back and forth from crim-

inal to cops, apparently showing simultaneous action. Do not code each

switch as a new instance. Example: Hostage and criminal with gun in

car (one). Switch to cops with drawn guns chasing in car (two). Back

to criminal (no new instance).

4. Threats -- Code verbal or other threats, separated in time

from violent action, as one instance, with the actual action (if it

occurs) as a second instance. Example: A character tells another,

"I'll get you for this!" (one instance). Some time later, he sets fire

to the other's house (second instance). Note: To be scored, threats

must really be threatening!

5. Do not code animal violence unless the animal is invested

with a distinct personality and human-like qualities, as with Lassie or

many Disney animals. If the animal is human-like in these ways, "vio-

lence" can include vicious growling or hissing, as well as the more ob-

vious manifestations.

6. Do code destruction of property when performed in a vio-

lent manner. This would not include such situations as workmen tearing

down a building. Examples:

a. When directed toward self or others, in previously

undescribed anger or to resolve a conflict, score Vd or Vc, respective-

ly: Smashing up another child's toys in anger or "getting back" at

someone by destroying his car.

b. Destruction of property for fun is scored Vg: Shoot-

ing up road signs with rifles or throwing rocks at school windows.

7. Do code the use of force when the intent of the aggressor

is not to injure anyone per se, but the possibility of injury is pres-

ent. Example: Bad guy sucking up buildings with an anti-gravity gun is

not plain robbery because the people in the buildings would certainly

get hurt.

8. Do code slapstick aggressions such as throwing a pie in

someone's face or sticking something in his mouth to shut him up. Ex-

ception: These acts would not be coded if the "victim" were laughing

and taking it all in good fun.

9. Do not code actions which injure people by accident. Ex-


a. While sweeping the floor, a janitor accidently trips


b. A motorist is unable to avoid running over a child

who darts into the street.

10. When performed by law enforcement officers in a routine

or perfunctory manner, behaviors such as jailing, handcuffing, or tying

someone up should not be coded. On the other hand, code these behaviors

if they include violent components. Examples: Slamming someone against

jail wall; pushing criminal around while handcuffing him; tying someone

up and making him walk back to town behind his horse. All of these

would be Vg or Vd, depending upon whether the act is essential for de-

scribing the perpetrator's emotions or not. Note: Always code the

above behaviors when performed by persons other than law officers.

11. Do code the hunting and trapping of warm blooded animals,

even when done as part of sporting or hunting activities (in which case

it would be designated Vg). Do not code the killing of cold blooded

animals such as fish or bugs unless done in a violent way; e.g., smash-

ing a bug with a brick and laughing about it or harpooning a shark.

12. In some cases self-defense may not be coded. For exam-

ple, the simple acts of ducking or blocking a blow are not coded as

violent. However, if the individual resorts to violence in defending

himself (e.g., punching back, shooting back, pushing someone down), it

should be coded. References to defending oneself are not coded unless

it is clear the subject is planning to be aggressive. Examples:

a. A teenager says, "I don't want to be a coward any-

more; I've got to learn to stand on my own and defend myself." Do not

code as violent.

b. An angry man says in retort, "Now I don't like to hit

a woman, but if I'm forced to defend myself, I will, and let the chips

fall where they may!" Do code as violent (threat).

13. The Oriental arts of self-defense (e.g., judo, kung fu,

etc.) are considered sport when performed by mutually consenting indi-

viduals in a non-threatening context (e.g., student and teacher during

lesson), and thus are not coded as violent. Likewise, the various

stances in and of themselves are not violent. Do code these actions

when used in an attack on an unwilling victim or when performed in a

violent manner suggestive of combat.

C. Scoring overlaps

1. If verbal and non-verbal violence occur simultaneously,

describe the episode (as in D below), but score as only one episode.

2. If a scene is repeated within a story (e.g., it is liter-

ally re-shown at the end of a program), code it again in the usual man-


3. In the scoring of major conflicts, there may sometimes

be a question regarding the "type" of major conflict resolution used,

because it may appear that several types have been involved. In this

case, as well as all other cases, only one type of conflict resolution

may be designated for each major conflict. There are three ways of re-

solving a case in which there is difficulty isolating one type of con-

flict resolution:

a. First, ask yourself, "Which conflict resolution type

was most influential in resolving the conflict?" If this question can

be answered, the choice is made.

b. If there is still a problem in isolating the predom-

inant mode of conflict resolution, then "break the tie" according to the

following hierarchy: Violence, coercion, movement toward people, move-

ment away from people. So, if, for example, there is continuing doubt

whether V or T have been most effective in resolving the conflict, then

label it V; similarly, between C and A, choose C.


c. In the event there is not even a tie to break, then

check "indeterminate" on the coding sheet and briefly explain the prob-


D. How to describe a violent episode

1. The format of the behavioral description should always be

subject-behavior-object; e.g., Bill slugs Mary with his Teddy bear.

a. If the behavior was solely physical, use an active

phrase like hit, punch, pulls out of quicksand, holds hand, etc.

b. If the behavior was solely verbal, put quotes around

a few representative words. Example: Bob: "I'll get you for this" to

Jim; Jean: "If you leave, you'll die" to George.

2. If you do not have information on the subject of a behav-

ior, put a blank before the verb; e.g., zaps the space

ship. find out who did the behavior, put his/her name in the

blank. If you never find out who did it, put a ? at the end.


Ilatrr at.e._
I)Dac t Time.: Nctwoik :

Major antagonists (opponents)_
Major confricts want(s) .
(ure back for ,doesn't want
extrn room) (11don)t w
Method by which major conflict resolved
__violence __ ovint, toward __coercion _molvin. nway ri-om
indeterminate -- expliini

oTotal V I Total Vt Totnl Vr -
Total mental health protl'*rnional rell'rrnrr.en:

JK ___-


r F r
_________________ I

--- -- --- ------

, too,- ------


Brashers, H. C. Creative Writing. New York: American Book, 1968.

Field, S. Television and Radio Writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,

Harvey, S. Revision of Davidson and Neale's Pro-Social and Aggressive
Code. Mimeographed. Department of Psychology, State University of
New York at Stony Brook, 1976.

Homey, K. Our Inner Conflicts. New York: Norton, 1945.

Nicholson, M. Conflict Analysis. London: The English Universities
Press, 1970.


Worksheet Identifying Major conflicts


Below are selected TV Guide plot summaries of primetime
programs to be aired on Jan. 17 and 18, 1977. From the de-
scription, indicate the probable major conflict of each in
the spaces provided, or else answer the question.

1) Little House on the Prairie: Although the citizens of Walnut Grove
are put under strict quarantine when a deadly fever strikes a neigh-
boring town, Mr. Edwards inadvertently brings the disease home after
visiting the stricken community.

What is the major problem in scoring this plot? What kind of con-
flict does it seem to be?

2) Wonder Woman: The Nazis have captured an outer-space alien who has
been sent to pass judgment on Earth-Dwellers.


doesn't want

3) Busting Loose: Lenny Markowitz, a late-maturing 24-year old who has
finally decided to cut the apron strings, secretly searches for a
cheap apartment after excusing himself from home (his parents) with
the trumped-up story that he is taking a trip to Israel.


don't want

4) Maude: Maude unconvincingly insists that her friendship with a hand-
some business associate is purely platonic.


doesn't want

5) All's Fair: Both Ginger and Senator Joplin would like to end their
brief romance, but neither has the nerve to break it to the other.


don't want


6) Baa Baa Black Sheep: While recovering from burns on his hands,
Boyintgon falls in love with a nurse who has a husband missing in
action on the Italian front.


doesn't want

Info-worksheet: Types of violence

Conflict resolving violence (V ): Violence whose purpose is to resolve
a conflict, problem, or tension between people, as long as the conflict
being resolved is not Man vs. himself.

Descriptive violence (Vd): Violence which is essential to the story
being told, but which is not intended to resolve an interpersonal con-
flict. Violence is scored Vd when it is the result of a Man vs. himself

Gratuitous violence (Vg): Violence that is unessential to the story
being told, it serves no conflict resolving purpose and it does not de-
scribe its perpetrator in a new way.

The following is a list of violent episodes. Indicate which type of
violence each is in the answer spaces to the left of each item.

1. A crazed killer indiscriminately kills anyone in his range. He
is barricaded in a bell tower.

2. A SWAT team shoots tear gas into the killer's bell tower.

3. The killer begins shooting at the cops who are surrounding him.

4. A strangler is shown doing his thing: Whenever he gets rejected
by a woman, he strangles her.

5. Another strangler is shown doing his thing: He only strangles
people he doesn't know, one each week.

6. Mr. Big directs the hit man to kill Eliot Ness, the FBI agent.

7. Mr. Big beats up his wife because she spends too much money; the
wife later supplies Ness with the information needed to bust him.

8. Mr. Big, already portrayed as a bad guy, beats up his wife for
no apparent reason. She later turns him in to Ness.

9. Mr. Big, already portrayed as a bad guy, beats up his wife for
no apparent reason. Her role in the rest of the story is mini-

10. Kojak grabs the bad guy and throws him across the cell, telling
him that the rest of the gang will be caught.

11. Every time the guards transport the Mafia informer, they do so
with guns drawn.

12. In the first scene, Mr. Big is shown kicking his dog, for no

13. Five scenes later, he also kicks his dog.

14. At their morning meeting, the sergeant tells his patrolmen to
shoot the bad guy on sight.

15. John Wayne grabs the drifter by his shirt with both hands and
asks, "Who are you calling a liar?" The drifter apologizes.

Because it is often difficult to determine if an episode is Vc, Vd, or
Vg, use the following flowchart to be sure.

1. If the violence can, in any way, be construed as an effort to re-
solve a conflict with another person, then code it Vc.

2. If the violence serves an essential purpose in the screenplay (like
showing a character's meanness, anger or style) other than conflict
resolution, then code it Vd.

3. If the violence neither attempts to resolve an interpersonal con-
flict nor describes its perpetrator in a new way, then code it Vg.

Code the following violent episodes according to the above.

1) Matt Dillon wins his 470th gunfight.

2) When McCloud learns that his girlfriend has been kidnapped, he
grabs the captured bad guy by the collar and angrily says, "I'm
gonna nail your pals within 24 hours."

3) When McCloud learns that his girlfriend has been kidnapped, he
grabs the captured bad guy by the collar and says, "For your own
good, you better hope I nail your pals quickly."

4) In the opening scene, the bully is shown picking on kids who
don't even know him.

5) Halfway through the show, the bully is shown dropping water bal-
loons on people he doesn't know.

6) Halfway through the show, the bully is shown throwing rocks at a
teacher he has argued with.

7) When the teacher approaches the bully and offers to talk with
him, the bully throws a rock at him.


8) Batman and Robin beat up the bad guys and save the president.

9) The arsonist burns down the house of his enemy.

10) The cop keeps shoving his prisoner before him, even though he has
the prisoner handcuffed at gunpoint; this behavior is later
brought up at the inquest.

Remember: The most important thing is to record the violent episode as
"V" and describe it briefly. You can always go back and
specify if the "V" was Vc, Vd, or Vg.



Place the letter corresponding to the correct answer in the
space to the left of each question.

1. The rating system to be used in this project considers how many
types of conflict resolution?
a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 e) 5

2. A situation where two people wish to carry out
mutually exclusive (contradictory) is called
a) a violent episode b) conflict resolution
d) a major protagonist e) coercion

3. Violence and coercion are
a) moving toward people
c) moving against people

acts which are

c) conflict

ways of
b) moving away from people
d) moving among people

4. Which of the following is this study mainly concerned with?
a) Man against man conflicts b) Man against nature conflicts
c) Man against his own conscience conflicts
d) Man against toad conflicts

5. Gratuitous violence refers to violence which is
a) essential to the story b) justified in the story
c) used to resolve conflicts d) not essential to the story
e) necessary to describe the character

6. How many different types of violence does the rating system used
in this project consider?
a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 e) 5

7. Any conflict, according to our rating system, may be reduced to
a) one word b) Vc,Vd, or Vg c) coercion d) 2 sentences

8. Which of the following is an example of coercion?
a) discussion b) avoiding the conflict c) a punch in the
mouth d) gratuitous violence e) a union strike

9. Which of the following usually has more than one major conflict?
a) Kojak b) Rich Man, Poor Man c) Rhoda d) Sanford & Son

10. Discussion, negotiation,
a) moving toward people
c) moving against people

and compromise are all ways of
b) moving away from people
d) moving among people

Quiz Scoring manual


Directions: Place the letter corresponding to the correct answer in the
space to the left of each question.

1. Which of the following does not belong with the others?
a) violence b) moving toward people c) moving away from
people d) conflict e) coercion

2. Which of the following has nothing to do with violence, accord-
ing to our scoring system?
a) essential b) descriptive c) coercive d) gratuitous
e) conflict resolving

3. Which of the following usually has more than one major conflict?
a) Maude b) Starsky & Hutch c) Executive Suite d) Baretta
e) Phyllis

4. Which of the following would not be rated "indeterminate" for
conflict resolution type? The story of
a) men climbing to the top of Mt. Everest b) Al Capone's rise
to power c) Col. Powell's explorations of the Utah wilderness
d) Lindbergh's first solo transatlantic flight e) The wolf-
man's efforts to stop himself from killing

5. How many different types of violence does the rating system in
this project consider?
a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 e) 5

6. A situation where two people wish to carry out acts which are
mutually exclusive (contradictory) is called
a) conflict resolution b) gratuitous violence c) essential
violence d) moving away from people e) conflict

7. Which of the following may always be reduced to two sentences
a) major conflict b) major protagonist c) violence
d) coercion e) conflict resolution

8. Which of the following is not a type of conflict resolution?
a) C b) T c) Vd d) coercion e) A

9. Which of the following is a way of "moving against people?"
a) discussion b) avoiding a conflict c) coercion
d) compromise e) not talking


Specific relationship Kendall's th Significance level

Violence and

education .228 .0001

TV viewing -.163 .0004

social interest .145 .0019

sex .139 .0049

age -.196 .0110

marginality .099 .0220

question 25 .081 .0458

Coercion and

education .178 .0001

TV viewing -.149 .0009

social interest .141 .0022

age -.074 .0532

"Moving away" and

education .161 .0004

age .147 .0007

social interest .112 .0123

sex -.105 .0216

marginality .102 .0190

complexity .094 .0203

Specific relationship Kendall's th Significance level

"Moving toward" and

news media read .174 .0002

education -.115 .0114

age .109 .0113

TV viewing and

news media read -.078 .0447

education -.159 .0003

question 26 -.074 .0532




Variables Held
Social News
Interest Read



Violence -.224 -.223
.0001 .0001

>. Coercion

- Moving




-.122 -.129
.0244 .0173

.128 .127
.0190 .0199

-.214 -.225
.0001 .0001

-.188 -.193
.0006 .0004

-.124 -.128
.0245 .0195

.122 .127
.0267 .0203











Rater 2/8 tions 2/9 dev 2/10 dev 2/11 dev

V : 0011 1 3 002 14 2
Vd (Vg): 3

1 TVT 1
1 11 2

2 T
1 1


6 VTTT 2
1 2


1211 4



12 T
T 1

3/6 dev 3/7 dev 2/15 dev

1 23

6 10 7


1 21 2


1 1



Vd (Vg)


Rater 2/12 tion


dev 2/17


dev 2/18


dev 2/19

15 11
2 4(1)


18 11 7
1 1



Vd (Vg)











16 11 11

R-LeL. e. L .1 f A v

d (Vg)


2/21 dev 2/22 dev 2/23 dev




1121 3





0 2/2 dev

dev 2/25 dev 2/26 dev 2/27 dev

0 1 13 2



11 3

3 1 112 5

1 5 14

1 1 11 2

1 1 14 2

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10 14


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David Frances was born and educated in New York City, He received

a B.A. in biology, minoring in mathematics, from NYU in 1966. He ac-

quired an M.A. from Montclair State College in 1971. From 1968 through

1972, Mr. Frances taught biology and chemistry at East Orange (N.J.)

High School. In 1972, he served as Assistant Chairman of the Science

Department at that institution. In the summer of 1972, he directed a

Model Cities program concerned with teaching photography to children of

all ages. Mr. Frances's primary interests at present include psycholog-

ical education, mental health applications of mass media, his wife

Elaine, his son Joshua, travel, sports, and jazz, although not necessar-

ily in that order.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.

Hug C Davis, Jr., Chairman
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.

Robert C. 2iIer
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.

K nnet Christ sen s
ofessor of Journalism and