The value of social-cognitive theory to reducing preschool TV viewing: A pilot randomized trial

Frederick J. Zimmerman, Selena E. Ortiz, Dimitri A. Christakis, Dana Elkun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To (a) reduce the total amount of television viewing to which preschool children are exposed; and (b) shift the balance of exposure away from commercial television toward educational content. Method: Randomized controlled clinical trial. Data collected in 2007; analyzed 2008-2011. Participants were 67 English-speaking families in Seattle with a preschool-aged child exposed to more than 90. min of television viewing on average per day. A case manager for each group used in-person conferences, monthly newsletters, and e-mail contact to motivate behavior change around child television viewing (intervention) or child safety (control). Results: Compared to those in the control group, families randomized to the intervention group experienced a significant reduction by 37. minutes/day in total viewing time (95% CI: 5.6-68.7), including a marginally significant reduction by 29. minutes/day in viewing of commercial content (95% CI: -. 4.6-63). Compared to those in the control group, those in the intervention group experienced a positive change in outcome expectations. There were no significant changes in self-efficacy or volitional control. An advance in stage-of-change was marginally significant. Conclusions: Targeting commercial TV viewing may prove a successful behavioral intervention to achieve public health goals in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-218
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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