Watching of Scary TV Shows by Children and Youth, Identification With Characters, and Resulting Fears and Nightmares

  •  Gila Cohen Zilka    
  •  Chen Goldberg    


The identification of children and adolescents with characters from the television programs they watch is not limited to the time when they view the program. The connection with the characters continues across the use of various digital means and in various realms of the children’s lives. The purpose of the present study was to examine the connections between patterns of use of various media, the degree of identification with characters from the programs watched, and the fears and nightmares experienced by the children after watching these programs. This is a mixed-method study. Two hundred ninety-six Israeli children and adolescents participated in the study; 45 children and adolescents among those who completed questionnaires were interviewed. The data were collected in 2017-2018. The data revealed that negative identification with the show characters was higher among children than in adolescents. Positive identification with the characters was higher among viewers of scary programs, among those who suffered from nightmares and fears, and among those who perceived the characters and plot as realistic. It was found that interest in programs involving tension, drama, and action increases the risk of nightmares and fears after watching these programs.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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