Date of Award

Fall 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Andrew Christie


This study examines the relation between television media and fear as it pertains to the trust or confidence in the United States government. Using the fundamental hypothesis of cultivation theory (i.e., heavy viewers of television are more likely to believe that the world is a "mean and scary" place), the relation between the amount of television one watches, one's corresponding level of fear, and one's level of confidence in each branch of the United States federal government is examined. It is hypothesized that fear will have a mediating effect on the relation between heavy television consumption and respondents' confidence in each branch of the federal government. It is further proposed that a "culture of fear" is deliberately created by the media and government as a means of social control.