Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 417-428

First online:

The Role of Violent Media Preference in Cumulative Developmental Risk for Violence and General Aggression

  • Paul BoxerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Rutgers UniversityUniversity of Michigan Email author 
  • , L. Rowell HuesmannAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Brad J. BushmanAffiliated withUniversity of MichiganVU University Amsterdam
  • , Maureen O’BrienAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Dominic MoceriAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan

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The impact of exposure to violence in the media on the long-term development and short-term expression of aggressive behavior has been well documented. However, gaps in this literature remain, and in particular the role of violent media exposure in shaping violent and other serious antisocial behavior has not been investigated. Further, studies of violent media effects typically have not sampled from populations with confirmed histories of violent and/or nonviolent antisocial behavior. In this study, we analyzed data on 820 youth, including 390 juvenile delinquents and 430 high school students, to examine the relation of violent media use to involvement in violence and general aggression. Using criterion scores developed through cross-informant modeling of data from self, parent/guardian, and teacher/staff reports, we observed that childhood and adolescent violent media preferences contributed significantly to the prediction of violence and general aggression from cumulative risk totals. Findings represent a new and important direction for research on the role of violent media use in the broader matrix of risk factors for youth violence.


Media Violence Delinquent Aggression Risk