Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 127-136

Video Game Violence Use Among “Vulnerable” Populations: The Impact of Violent Games on Delinquency and Bullying Among Children with Clinically Elevated Depression or Attention Deficit Symptoms

  • Christopher J. FergusonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Stetson University Email author 
  • , Cheryl K. OlsonAffiliated with

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Abstract

The issue of children’s exposure to violent video games has been a source of considerable debate for several decades. Questions persist whether children with pre-existing mental health problems may be influenced adversely by exposure to violent games, even if other children are not. We explored this issue with 377 children (62 % female, mixed ethnicity, mean age = 12.93) displaying clinically elevated attention deficit or depressive symptoms on the Pediatric Symptom Checklist. Results from our study found no evidence for increased bullying or delinquent behaviors among youth with clinically elevated mental health symptoms who also played violent video games. Our results did not support the hypothesis that children with elevated mental health symptoms constitute a “vulnerable” population for video game violence effects. Implications and suggestions for further research are provided.

Keywords

Video games Aggression Violence Mental health