From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Influence of the Media

There is considerable US research on the influence of passive media (e.g. television and films) on sexual behaviour, tobacco use, violence, depression, obesity and other health related behaviours and outcomes. There is also evidence that advertising contributes to intra-family conflict, which may particularly affect deprived families, exacerbating financial pressures. However, there is far less research on the influence of interactive media (e.g. social networking, computer games) which are increasingly prominent in young people’s lives.

Parents mediate the impact of the media on their children in at least three ways: by shaping the type of media available, the amount and content to which children are exposed, and discussing content with their children. There is now evidence of how the last two of these affect children’s health outcomes. To date, UK evidence of media effects on young people, and how they affect or are mediated by parent-child relationships, is almost entirely cross-sectional. Building on our previous work, we aim to investigate:

1) associations between media exposure and health outcomes; and
2) how family relationships mediate the influence of the media on health outcomes and vice-versa.



Hartley J, Wight D, Hunt K. Presuming the influence of the media: teenagers’ constructions of gender identity through sexual/romantic relationships and alcohol consumption. Sociology of Health & Illness 2014;36:772-86

open access  


Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D, Henderson M. Do television and electronic games predict children’s psychosocial adjustment? Longitudinal research using the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2013;98:341-348

open access  

Parkes A, Wight D, Hunt K, Henderson M, Sargent J. Are sexual media exposure, parental restrictions on media use and co-viewing TV and DVDs with parents and friends associated with teenagers' early sexual behaviour?. Journal of Adolescence 2013;36:1121–1133

open access  


Hartley J. Do media portrayals of drinking and sexual/romantic relationships shape constructions of gendered identities among teenagers? [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2011.

open access  

Hunt K, Henderson M, Wight D, Sargent J D. Exposure to smoking in films and own smoking among Scottish adolescents: a cross-sectional study. Thorax 2011;66:866-74

pubmed  open access