Watching less television wrestling equals more harmonious dates, less violent behavior, less alcohol and drug use, and less drunk driving. That is the conclusion of a study conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Baltimore on Saturday. To figure this out, the researchers watched an awful lot of wrestling themselves. They analyzed the World Wrestling Federation's "Raw Is War" and came up with some impressive numbers: 128 instances of simulated sexual activity; 608 fights with garbage cans, chairs, tables and brooms; 273 kicks to the groin; and a whopping 1,658 instances of crotch grabbing and pointing. It was not Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Next they asked a random sample of 2,228 North Carolina high school kids how much they had watched wrestling during the past two weeks and how frequently they had given in to various vices. It turned out that the teenagers who watched the most wrestling were more likely to fight on dates; act violently; carry knives, firearms or other weapons; use alcohol, chewing tobacco, marijuana or other drugs; and drive under the influence. "The bottom line is that we are affected by what we expose ourselves to," author Robert DuRant of Wake Forest says. "Wrestling doesn't in itself cause violence, but when combined with overall socialization, violence on television can affect what is perceived as socially acceptable behavior.