Newswise — Previous research has identified that exposure to the crime drama genre lowers rape myth acceptance and increases sexual assault prevention behaviors such as bystander intervention. However, recent content analyses have revealed marked differences in the portrayal of sexual violence within the top three crime drama franchises. This study explores the influence of exposure to the three most popular crime drama franchises: Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS. Published in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, the study Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS: The Association Between Exposure to Crime Drama Franchises, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Sexual Consent Negotiation Among College Students looks into the effects of exposure to crime dramas.

A survey of 313 college freshmen looks into the influence of exposure to the individual shows. The study concluded that the different franchises had different effects on those surveyed. Exposure to Law & Order is associated with decreased rape myth acceptance and increased intentions to adhere to expressions of sexual consent, while CSI and NCIS are associated more negatively. Exposure to the CSI franchise is associated with decreased intentions to attain consent and decreased intentions to adhere to those expressions of sexual consent. Exposure to the NCIS franchise was associated with decreased intentions to refuse unwanted sexual activity.

The authors said of the intent of the study, “[It] aims to contribute to the existing literature in two important ways. First, this study accounts for the differences in content between crime drama franchises. Second, this study expands on research that has established that general crime drama viewing is associated with rape myth acceptance by also investigating whether exposure is associated with intentions related to sexual consent negotiation.”

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Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives