Pow! Boom! Kablam! Effects of Viewing Superhero Programs on Aggressive, Prosocial, and Defending Behaviors in Preschool Children

  • Sarah M. Coyne
  • Laura Stockdale
  • Jennifer Ruh Linder
  • David A. Nelson
  • Kevin M. Collier
  • Lee W. Essig
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-016-0253-6

Cite this article as:
Coyne, S.M., Stockdale, L., Linder, J.R. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2017). doi:10.1007/s10802-016-0253-6

Abstract

Many schools and parents try to motivate children to become defenders of victimized peers. Defending behavior is common in the media (particularly in superhero programs); however, no study has examined the effect of media on defending behavior. The aim of the study was to examine longitudinal associations between superhero engagement and a variety of aggressive, prosocial, and defending behaviors in preschool children. Participants consisted of 240 preschoolers (49% male) and their parents who reported on child media use and outcomes at 2 different time points. Preschooler’s engagement with superheroes was related to increased physical and relational aggression 1 year later. Engagement with superheroes was not related to prosocial or defending behaviors. Implications of the results are discussed.

Keywords

MediaSuperheroesPhysical aggressionRelational aggressionProsocial behaviorDefending behaviorsBullying

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah M. Coyne
    • 1
  • Laura Stockdale
    • 1
  • Jennifer Ruh Linder
    • 2
  • David A. Nelson
    • 1
  • Kevin M. Collier
    • 3
  • Lee W. Essig
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Linfield CollegeMcMinvilleUSA
  3. 3.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA