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Mediators and Moderators of Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior

Mediators and Moderators of Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior ImportanceAlthough several longitudinal studies have demonstrated an effect of violent video game play on later aggressive behavior, little is known about the psychological mediators and moderators of the effect. ObjectiveTo determine whether cognitive and/or emotional variables mediate the effect of violent video game play on aggression and whether the effect is moderated by age, sex, prior aggressiveness, or parental monitoring. Design, Setting, and ParticipantsThree-year longitudinal panel study. A total of 3034 children and adolescents from 6 primary and 6 secondary schools in Singapore (73% male) were surveyed annually. Children were eligible for inclusion if they attended one of the 12 selected schools, 3 of which were boys’ schools. At the beginning of the study, participants were in third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grades, with a mean (SD) age of 11.2 (2.1) years (range, 8-17 years). Study participation was 99% in year 1. Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe final outcome measure was aggressive behavior, with aggressive cognitions (normative beliefs about aggression, hostile attribution bias, aggressive fantasizing) and empathy as potential mediators. ResultsLongitudinal latent growth curve modeling demonstrated that the effects of violent video game play are mediated primarily by aggressive cognitions. This effect is not moderated by sex, prior aggressiveness, or parental monitoring and is only slightly moderated by age, as younger children had a larger increase in initial aggressive cognition related to initial violent game play at the beginning of the study than older children. Model fit was excellent for all models. Conclusions and RelevanceGiven that more than 90% of youths play video games, understanding the psychological mechanisms by which they can influence behaviors is important for parents and pediatricians and for designing interventions to enhance or mitigate the effects. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA Pediatrics American Medical Association

Mediators and Moderators of Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior

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References (43)

Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.
ISSN
2168-6203
eISSN
2168-6211
DOI
10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.63
pmid
24663396
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ImportanceAlthough several longitudinal studies have demonstrated an effect of violent video game play on later aggressive behavior, little is known about the psychological mediators and moderators of the effect. ObjectiveTo determine whether cognitive and/or emotional variables mediate the effect of violent video game play on aggression and whether the effect is moderated by age, sex, prior aggressiveness, or parental monitoring. Design, Setting, and ParticipantsThree-year longitudinal panel study. A total of 3034 children and adolescents from 6 primary and 6 secondary schools in Singapore (73% male) were surveyed annually. Children were eligible for inclusion if they attended one of the 12 selected schools, 3 of which were boys’ schools. At the beginning of the study, participants were in third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grades, with a mean (SD) age of 11.2 (2.1) years (range, 8-17 years). Study participation was 99% in year 1. Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe final outcome measure was aggressive behavior, with aggressive cognitions (normative beliefs about aggression, hostile attribution bias, aggressive fantasizing) and empathy as potential mediators. ResultsLongitudinal latent growth curve modeling demonstrated that the effects of violent video game play are mediated primarily by aggressive cognitions. This effect is not moderated by sex, prior aggressiveness, or parental monitoring and is only slightly moderated by age, as younger children had a larger increase in initial aggressive cognition related to initial violent game play at the beginning of the study than older children. Model fit was excellent for all models. Conclusions and RelevanceGiven that more than 90% of youths play video games, understanding the psychological mechanisms by which they can influence behaviors is important for parents and pediatricians and for designing interventions to enhance or mitigate the effects.

Journal

JAMA PediatricsAmerican Medical Association

Published: May 1, 2014

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