Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Richard Worch


In 2000, approximately 30% of all news stories in mass media focused on crime. According to research, increased exposure to the media directly correlates to an increased fear of crime; however, little research has been conducted into this influential relationship and the extent of which it could affect a person’s social interaction anxiety. Therefore, the study’s purpose was to examine the relationship and consequential impact of media exposure and the extent of which the fear of crime had on individuals’ social interaction anxiety levels. Through a quantitative approach, this study used the theory of cultivation. Question one examined the effect of media exposure and the degree of which the fear of crime had on individuals’ social interaction anxiety levels. Question two examined all variables together after controlling demographics. A quantitative correlational survey design included data from 150 residents of a major west coast city who were exposed to crime through different media sources 2 weeks prior to the survey. This study used multiple regression and hierarchical multiple regression testing, residents’ levels of social interaction anxiety was impacted by the amount of media exposure and levels of fear of crime. This held true after controlling for demographics; however, age was the only significant predictor for individuals’ social interaction anxiety level. Future researchers should replicate this study in different counties across a west coast state to determine if residents’ social interaction anxiety differs across counties. State and local government agencies may use the findings as a basis to enact laws and codes regulating mass media as well as establishing social programs that alleviate the public’s fear.