Can clans protect adolescent players of massively multiplayer online games from violent behaviors?
To examine whether clan membership mediates observed associations between violent game content and externalizing behaviors among youth who play massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).
Responses from 486 11- to 18-year-olds who: live in the United States, read English, have been online at least once in the past 6 months, and have played MMOGs in the past year were examined. Generalized estimating equations were used to estimate the population-averaged incident rate ratio of aggressive, delinquent, and seriously violent behaviors among MMOG players given one’s self-reported exposure to in-game content depicting violence.
Twenty-nine percent of all youth respondents played MMOGs in the past year. Rates of aggressive, IRR: 1.59, 95 % CI [1.11, 2.26], and delinquent, IRR: 1.44, 95 % CI [0.99, 2.08], behaviors were significantly higher for MMOG players who were in clans versus not in clans. For females, clan membership attenuated but did not eliminate the observed relation between exposure to in-game violent content and both aggressive and seriously violent behavior (16 % and 10 % reductions in IRR, respectively); whereas for males, clan membership was largely uninfluential (i.e., less than 2 % change).
Clan membership is neither associated with lower rates of externalizing behaviors for youth, nor does it affect the likelihood of reporting externalizing behaviors among male players. There is some suggestion that clan membership may attenuate the concurrent association between in-game violent content and some externalizing behaviors for females.
KeywordsAdolescents Violent video games Clans MMOGs Violent behavior
- American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV-TR). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Anderson CA, Bushman BJ (2001) Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci 12:353–359. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00366 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Anderson C, DeLisi M, Groves C (2013) Subtracting from scientific knowledge about media effects. PsycCRITIQUES 58. doi:10.1037/a0034788
- Bachman JG, Johnston LD, O’Malley PM (2001) Monitoring the future: questionnaire responses from the nation’s high school seniors, 2000. Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
- Browne KD, Hamilton-Giachritsis C (1983) The influence of violent media on children’s attitudes about media violence. Lancet 52:232–240Google Scholar
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of the Census (2006) Current population survey. http://www.census.gov/cps/. Accessed 5 July 2006
- Dahlberg LL, Toal SB, Swahn M, Behrens CB (2005) Measuring violence-related attitudes, behaviors, and influences among youths: a compendium of assessment tools, 2nd edn. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
- Finkelhor D, Mitchell KJ, Wolak J (2000) Online victimization: a report on the nation’s youth. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Alexandria, VA, pp 1–50Google Scholar
- Lenhart A, Jones S, Macgill AR (2008a) Adults and video games. In: Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2008/PIP_Adult_gaming_memo.pdf.pdf. Accessed 17 Nov 2014
- Lenhart A, Kahne J, Middaugh E, Rankin Macgill A, Evans C, Vitak J (2008b) Teens, video games, and civics. In: Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Teens-Video-Games-and-Civics/01-Summary-of-Findings.aspx. Accessed 17 Nov 2014
- Madden M, Lenhart A, Duggan M, Cortesi S, Gasser U (2013) Teens and technology 2013. In: Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teens-and-Tech/Main-Findings/Teens-and-Technology.aspx. Accessed 17 Nov 2014
- Office of the Surgeon General (2002) Youth violence: a report of the surgeon general. In: US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence/chapter4/sec1.html. Accessed 17 Nov 2014
- StataCorp (2009) Stata Statistical Software. Release 11. StataCorp LP, College Station, TXGoogle Scholar
- Udry JR (1996) The national longitudinal study of adolescent health (AddHealth) [Wave I and Wave II]. In: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth. Accessed 1 Jan 2015
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (2012) Crime in the United States, 2011. United States Department of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Wolak J, Mitchell KJ, Finkelhor D (2006) Online victimization of youth: 5 years later. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Alexandria, VA, pp 1–96Google Scholar
- Ybarra M, Diener-West M (2008) How protective against child and adolescent aggressive behavior is a violence-free media diet?. American Public Health Association, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
- Ybarra ML, Espelage D, Langhinrichsen-Rohling J, Korchmaros J, boyd d (under review) When love hurts: National rates of adolescent dating abuse. J Adolesc HealthGoogle Scholar