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No. 1/2012

19 - 27

Effects of TV viewing on the adjustment of children in

relation to cultural environment
Hemant Lata Sharmaa, Sanjeev Tomarb*

M.D. University, Rohtak-124001. India
Shri Varshney PG College, ALIGARH 202001(U.P.) India

The present study explores the impact of TV viewing, gender and cultural environment on adjustment
in the terms of four selected areas along with grand total viz home, social, health, school and total
adjustment among the school going children at senior secondary level. For this purpose, the random
sampling technique was used. The impact of independent variables on adjustment of children was
assessed on a sample consisting of 400 adolescents (200 light TV viewers and 200 heavy TV viewers)
with gender equivalence from rural and urban area students studying at different 19 senior secondary
schools. Adjustment Inventory (Mittal, 2006) was employed. The findings revealed that girls were
found higher as compared to boys on the social adjustment whereas boys scored higher on health
adjustment as compared to girls. Rural students were higher on home adjustment than that of urban
students. No significant difference was observed in the adjustment of light and heavy TV viewers.
Keywords: adjustment; TV viewing; gender; cultural environment

1. Introduction
Adjustment is as old as human race on earth. At the very beginning of Darwin
period, this concept was purely applied in biological sense; but man is a social animal
and has to adjust in social pressures or environments. In simple words, adjustment is
the process by which a living organism maintains a balance between its needs and the
circumstances that influence the satisfaction of these needs. Palsane (1977) stated that
adjustment generally means the relationship between an individual and his
environment. It indicates that how well one adjusts in a particular situation depends
upon ones personal characteristics as well as upon the circumstances of the situation.
In other words both personal and environmental factors work side by side in
adjustment. An individual is called adjusted if he is adjusted to himself and to his
environment. Dua (1980) found that TV viewing has direct influence on its viewers;
due to it, TV watchers are being influenced by western culture at a large extent. Singh
and Kaur (1997) argue that TV presents not only life experiences, but also shows
them more effectively than any other communication media. Adolescence period (1319 yrs) is an impressionable age when personality make-up of an individual is
crystallized and becomes guiding force for future life. So, TV viewing has a big hand
in generating or reducing the adjustment of children and it depends upon intelligently
selection of programmes and amount of TV watching.
Dunn, Josepson and Wells (1977) found that high amount of television viewing is
related to low adjustment of viewers, while according to Rosenblatt and Cunningham
(1976) relationship between family television and amount of television viewing found
higher tension level in families who watched television heavily. Lekhi (1986) reported
that all the three groups-heavy, moderate and occasional TV viewers were better in
* Corresponding author:
E-mail address:

Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

four areas of adjustment - home, social, health and emotional, school and total as
compared to non-TV viewers. Shejwal (2005) stated that light viewers were found to
be better; also girls were found to be better than boys. Thus, television has changed
the personality make-up of the adolescents. This can easily be observed in every field
of school-childrens activities.
Singh and Kaur (2000) found that those parents who punish their children
physically and express dissatisfaction with their childrens accomplishments and
characteristics are responsible for their childrens preference to watch more and more
TV. Since their relations with parents are unsatisfactory, they spend more time
watching TV (Eron, 1982). Researchers have reported that the modern families have
become less able to socialize children effectively because of reduced parental
authority, and less able to provide care, affection and companionship to the children.
Joshi and Gautam (2002) emphasized that most of the parents do not trust the childs
judgment and it has been seen that at this age, children rely more on their friends,
media rather than their parents. As stated earlier, most people consider TV to have a
bad influence and they feel that TV will corrupt the tender minds. Hence, it was felt
that the study of TV viewing pattern of adolescents would give us an insight into the
impact of TV on them and may break some existing myths and replace them by some
positive facts. Singh and Kaur (1997) studied the impact of TV programmes on the
socio-psychological behaviour of urban primary school children as perceived by their
mothers. The result revealed a positive impact of TV on the psycho-social behaviour
of the primary school children. Results also indicated positive effect of TV viewing
on certain biographical data like health, education, age, income, time-duration etc.
In the words of Anuradha and Bharathi (2001), television, the wonder child of mass
media, is often blamed by the parents for childrens poor academic performance.
Several authors opined that in order to reduce negative effects of television viewing
on children, parents should control their childrens excessive TV watching
(Rajani,1987; Singer,1989 and Prawd,1995). In order to reduce the amount of TV
watching by the children and also to improve their academic performance, parents
have to exercise certain disciplinary practices. Taj and Masthans (1998) comments
pertinently pinpoint the importance of television in classroom teaching. Television is
a powerful medium and if properly integrated with classroom teaching, it can
definitely make the teaching-learning process more dynamic, effective, meaningful
and interesting and thus helps in improving the quality of education which is our
ultimate aim today. Kaur (1998) stated that television is a potent medium of
information, education and entertainment. It is one of the most significant
technological developments for the rising up of society. The researchers have, on the
one hand, tried to explore the TV viewing behaviour of different age groups; and on
the other, the impact of TV viewing on the knowledge, attitude and awareness of
viewers. The viewing of TV has influenced the social life of both urban and rural
adults. The researchers studied the TV viewing behaviour of adults (Thomas and
Tiwari, 1986; Narayanan, 1987; Joshi and Lahoria, 1992; Rao, 1992; Tiwari, et al.
1997) impact of TV viewing on their knowledge, attitude and awareness (Chopra,
1990; Ananthasayanam, et. al. 1992) as well as on different aspects of life
(Narayanan, 1987; Chopra, 1990 and Rao, 1992).
Dorr and Rabin (1995) found that those children who spend several hours or more a
day watching television, no matter the content telecast, are less social. There were
fairly good evidences that greater amounts of viewing were associated with less
satisfactory social relationship, fewer inter personal interactions, lower reading skills,
lower schools achievement and fatter bodies. Rapid changes in the field of electronic
media have made the world a global village. Today, most children in the world have
access to television, having more and more viewing choices. Leifer et al (1974)
pointed out that the television is not only entertainment for children but it is also an
important socializer for them, television characters present models for different life
roles, for sex appropriate behaviour and careers. In this line, Bandura (1977)
explained the influence of TV viewing through social learning theory which pinpoints
that children, especially teenagers, can learn new behaviour by observing and
imitating the characters and people featured on TV. Today, television is being


Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

considered a potent electronic media and affecting the young minds positively and
negatively. There are divergent opinions as to the role being played by television
programmes in the lives of children, adolescents, as well as adults. Huston et al (1992)
found positive impact of TV viewing in general, while Dorra (1986) reported that the
viewing TV is harmful, it is called an idiot box.
The research studies mentioned above reveal that TV viewing has varying effects
on teenagers. Although the above research findings are conflicted and contradictory,
yet they are enlightening. The present effort explores the impact of TV viewing on the
adjustment of children in relation to their gender and cultural differences i.e. rural or
2. Methodology
2.1. Objective
The primary aim of the present study was to find out the effect of TV viewing,
gender cultural environment individually and jointly on the adjustment of adolescents.
2.2. Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for verification in the present study:
1. No significant difference exists in the four areas of total adjustment of light and
heavy TV viewers.
2. No significant difference exists in the adjustment of boys and girls component
3. No significant difference exists in the adjustment of rural and urban children
4. Duration of TV x Gender will not affect adjustment dimension wise.
5. Gender x Cultural environment will not affect adjustment dimension wise.
6. Duration of TV x Cultural environment will not affect adjustment dimension wise.
7. Effects of Duration of TV x Gender x Cultural environment will not exist in the
2.3. Participants
The respondents chosen for the investigation were school adolescents in the age
ranging from 16 to 18 years (M=16.5) and belonged to the rural and urban area
families. 848 elements were chosen for the sample in the first instance, but the final
sample of 400 adolescents as per the requirement of the 2x2x2 cells (50 in each cell of
the paradigm) was taken in the perspective two levels of TV viewing (light and heavy
TV viewers), gender (male and female children) and cultural environment / residence
(rural and urban) from 19 Indian govt. secondary schools randomly selected from
Meerut district (U.P.) India. The extreme groupings of light and heavy TV viewers
were determined by employing the formula M+ SD; while gender and residence both
were naturally dichotomous variables. Prior to being tested, they were assured that
their responses would be kept secret and would not be disclosed to anyone under any
condition. They were asked to answer the items as per their own characteristics not as
per socially desirable.


Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

2.4. Sample

Light TV

Heavy TV













Independent variables: TV viewing, gender and cultural environment

Dependent variable: Adjustment
2.5. Research design
The objective of the study was to compare the effects of the TV viewing, gender
and cultural environment / residence on the adjustment. For this very purpose, a
2x2x2 Ex-Post facto non-experimental factorial design was employed. The sample as
per paradigms need was classified into 8 groups according to the three specified
characteristics of the population i.e. TV viewing behaviour, gender and cultural
environment. All the independent variables were bifurcated into two levels each.
Gender and residence both were naturally dichotomous variables i.e. gender-male and
female children, residence-rural and urban; whereas duration of TV viewing was
determined into two categories i.e. light and heavy TV viewers. The extreme grouping
of light and heavy TV viewers was determined by using the formula M+SD.
2.6. Operational definitions
TV viewing. In this study those who watched TV for less than 2 hrs and 45 minutes
per day, were labeled as light TV viewers, while heavy TV viewers were those who
were watching television more than 2 hrs and 45 minutes per day.
Cultural Environment. It indicates a visible difference in rural and urban population
of India. Difference in cultural setting can easily be observed in their belief, religions,
orientations, mode of living, customs, communication, transportation, housing and
material possession etc. This difference in the study was termed as cultural
environment having two levels- rural and urban.
2.7. Materials
I. Adjustment Inventory
It was developed by Mittal, (2006) and chosen for the purpose of collecting the
data. This revised inventory of 80 items has been employed to measure the adjustment


Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

among the children in four areas of adjustment home, social, health and school. Home
adjustment refers the relationship between family members and patterns of their
behavior, which plays a leading role in the adjustment of the child. Social adjustment
can be ascertained by once social development and adaptability to social environment
via social virtues in an individual viz co-operation, honesty, truthfulness, brotherhood,
sincerity etc whereas health and emotional adjustment indicate the childs health and
physical development in conformity with those of his age group mates. School
adjustment mentions how far a child is satisfied with his school regarding his
academic achievement, relationship between teacher and student; and between
classmates. Total adjustment pinpoints the overall adjustment of the child in above
mentioned four major areas of adjustment.
Spilt half reliability (odd-even method) was calculated and Spearman-Browns
correction was found to be .94 for the total scale showing a high reliability of the
scale. The reliability co-efficient in the four areas ranges from .44 to .80. The
inventory has been validated against two external criteria and co-efficient ranges from
.597 to .693. This high correlation demonstrates that sub-scales have high validity.
II. Student Information Blank
It was used to procure demographic information on the respondents.
2.8. Procedure
The participants were given the student information blank (SIB) and adjustment
inventory in group setting in the classroom. They were properly instructed to read,
judge and endorse each item of the adjustment inventory on three point rating. The
scoring of the collected data was made as per the manual. The raw data were treated
for statistical analysis by calculating mean, standard deviation and three way
3. Results
In order to compare light and heavy TV viewers, male and female adolescents and
rural cultured and urban cultured adolescents on adjustment, the relevant raw data
were analysed by following mean, standard deviation and Three way ANOVA (2x2x2
factorial design).
The table 1 shows that the results on adjustment of participants in relation to their
TV viewing pattern show that light TV viewers and heavy TV viewers do not
significantly differ in any area of adjustment.
Table 1.
Mean, Standard Deviations and F-ratios of Light and Heavy TV viewers on Sub-scales of
Adjustment (N=400)
Heavy TV viewers
Light TV viewers
(n = 200)
(n = 200)
Subscales of Adjustment
Home Adjustment
Social Adjustment
Health Adjustment
School Adjustment
Total Adjustment
df = 1,392






A scrutiny of table 2 indicates that second independent variable boys and girls
significantly differed in the areas of social adjustment (F=4.36, P<.05) and health
adjustment (F=9.60, P<.01). The mean scores reveal that girls are found to be higher
on social adjustment as compared to boys. Boys scored higher on health adjustment as


Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

compared to girls no significant difference was observed between boys and girls on
home, school and total adjustment.
Table 2.
Mean, Standard Deviations and F-ratios of Boys and Girls on Subscales of Adjustment
(n = 200)
(n = 200)
Subscales of Adjustment
Home Adjustment
Social Adjustment
Health Adjustment
School Adjustment
Total Adjustment
df = 1,392 significant f value *at .05 level, **at .01 level



On third independent variable cultural environment, rural and urban adolescents

significantly differ in home adjustment (F=9.59, P< .01). The mean scores indicate
that rural cultured adolescents are found to be higher on home adjustment as
compared to urban cultured adolescents. No significant difference is observed on
social, health, school and total adjustment (Table 3)
Table 3.
Mean, Standard Deviations and F-ratios of Rural and Urban Students on Subscales of Adjustment
(n = 200)
(n = 200)
Subscales of Adjustment
Home Adjustment
Social Adjustment
Health Adjustment
School Adjustment
Total Adjustment
df = 1,392 significant f value **at .01 level




On the interaction AxB, BxC and AxC (Table 4), no significant difference was
observed. On AxBxC interaction, significant differences are found on home, social,
school and total adjustment, while no significant difference was observed on health
Table 4.
Interactional Effects of TV viewing (A); Gender (B)
Adjustment (N=400)
Subscales of Adjustment
Home Adjustment
Social Adjustment
Health Adjustment
School Adjustment
Total Adjustment
df = 1,392 significant f value *at .05 level

and Cultural Environment (C) on Subscales of




4. Discussions
The primary motto of the existing attempt was to compare light and heavy TV
viewers adjustment. The result of the study showed that there was no significant


Hemant Lata Sharma, Sanjeev Tomar /Journal of Educational Sciences & Psychology

difference between light TV viewers and heavy TV viewers on their adjustment at any
area of adjustment. (Table1). This leads to a conclusion that amount of TV viewing do
not affect the adjustment of the TV viewers if the TV programmes are wisely selected
and watched by the children under the supervision of their parents. This finding as
supported by Peterson, Peterson and Carroll (1986), Rajani (1987), Singer (1989) and
Prawd (1995) reported that in order to reduce negative effects of television viewing on
children, parents should control their childrens excessive TV watching.
Another prominent purpose of the present study was to compare the adjustment of
male and female children. The findings show that female children are higher on social
adjustment as compared to male children. However, boys are found to be higher on
health adjustment as compared to female children. This leads to a conclusion that
female by nature are very soft spoken and of jolly nature; that is why, they make the
friendship in peers, neighbours and existing environment, similarly Maccoby and
Jacklin (1974) found that female children excel in verbal / language ability as
compared to male children. Male children by nature are though minded, harsh and
lovers of the power. The other findings also support it, boys want to be healthy and
well-built as compared to girls, the most probable reason that boys at the age of
adolescence want to impress their peer groups, especially girl classmates. The finding
can be supported by the study of Malina (1996) who reported that significant
difference in physical activity patterns among adolescents with a view of genders
existed. Similarly Sallis (1993) reported that relationship of physical activity with
gender had been reviewed and noticed that female adolescents were found to be 15%
to 20% less active than male adolescents. Kalia and Tomar (2003) found that male TV
viewing adolescents were significantly more adjusted on health adjustment in
comparison to female TV viewing adolescents.
The exposure to the cultural environment portrays significant differences that exist
in home adjustment. The rural adolescents have more home adjustment as compared
to urban adolescents. The probable reason may be that the values prevailing in the
rural areas despite of mordernity and advancement of electronic medium i.e.
television, bind the individuals of the family in unity and in oneness. Thats why; high
home adjustment in the adolescents of rural environment show the huge amount of
adjustment as compared to urban beings. Due to heavy effects of modernism on urban
beings; they feel isolated, do not want to live in groups and always want to live in
nuclear families. So, due to money-minded minds of urban beings; they lack in poor
home adjustment as compared to rural beings. Hartman and Husband (1971)
pinpointed that the effects of television telecast is gradually to alter the cultural
climate and to introduce new values in a slow and diffused way. Similarly, Dhull and
Tomar (2005) reported that urban TV viewing teenagers were more modern on
marriage ceremony in comparison to rural TV viewing teenagers.
On the interaction AxB, BxC and AxC; no significant difference was found at any
level of adjustment. Whereas the AxBxC (TV viewing, gender and cultural
environment) triple interaction on home, social, school and total adjustment were
found to significant. The probable reason may be high significant F-ratio was found in
social adjustment between boys and girls; and in home adjustment between rural and
urban children. This indicate that these variables influence the components of
adjustment except health adjustment when operate simultaneously.
5. Conclusion
On the basis of the obtained findings; it is concluded that all the variables gender
and cultural environment affect the adjustment partially, while this effect is not seen
with the two way interactions. This study also pinpoints that all these variables TV
viewing, gender and cultural environments produce more impact on the adjustment in
triple combination, while the effect only partially or insignificantly when operate
independent of each other.


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