International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 267–276 | Cite as

Can clans protect adolescent players of massively multiplayer online games from violent behaviors?

Original Article

Abstract

Objectives

To examine whether clan membership mediates observed associations between violent game content and externalizing behaviors among youth who play massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.

Keywords

Adolescents Violent video games Clans MMOGs Violent behavior 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV-TR). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. 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
  3. Anderson CA, Carnagey NL, Flanagan M, Benjamin JAJ, Eubanks J, Valentine JC (2004) Violent video games: specific effects of violent content on aggressive thoughts and behavior. Adv Exp Soc Psychol 36:199–249. doi:10.1016/S0065-2601(04)36004-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson CA et al (2010) Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull 136:151–173. doi:10.1037/a0018251 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson C, DeLisi M, Groves C (2013) Subtracting from scientific knowledge about media effects. PsycCRITIQUES 58. doi:10.1037/a0034788
  6. 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
  7. Browne KD, Hamilton-Giachritsis C (1983) The influence of violent media on children’s attitudes about media violence. Lancet 52:232–240Google Scholar
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of the Census (2006) Current population survey. http://www.census.gov/cps/. Accessed 5 July 2006
  9. 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
  10. Espelage DL, Holt MK, Henkel RR (2003) Examination of peer-group contextual effects on aggression during early adolescence. Child Dev 74:205–220. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00531 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferguson CJ (2013) Adolescents, crime, and the media: a critical analysis. Springer Science/Business Media, New York, NYCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferguson CJ, Kilburn J (2010) Much ado about nothing: The misestimation and overinterpretation of violent video game effects in eastern and western nations: comment on Anderson et al (2010). Psychol Bull 136:174–178. doi:10.1037/a0018566 (discussion 182–7)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 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
  14. Jamieson S (2004) Likert scales: how to (ab)use them. Med Educ 38:1217–1218. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2929.2004.02012.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Janssen I, Boyce WF, Pickett W (2012) Screen time and physical violence in 10 to 16-year-old Canadian youth. Int J Public Health 57:325–331. doi:10.1007/s00038-010-0221-9 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaplowitz MD, Hadlock TD, Levine R (2004) A comparison of web and mail survey response rates. Public Opin Q 68:94–101. doi:10.1093/poq/nfh006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kuntsche E et al (2009) Electronic media communication with friends from 2002 to 2006 and links to face-to-face contacts in adolescence: an HBSC study in 31 European and North American countries and regions. Int J Public Health 54:S243–S250. doi:10.1007/s00038-009-5416-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. Morrow V (1999) Conceptualising social capital in relation to the well-being of children and young people: a critical review. Sociol Rev 47:744–765. doi:10.1111/1467-954X.00194 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nuutinen T et al (2014) Computer use, sleep duration and health symptoms: a cross-sectional study of 15-year olds in three countries. Int J Public Health 59:619–628. doi:10.1007/s00038-014-0561-y CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 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
  24. Polman H, de Castro BO, van Aken MA (2007) Experimental study of the differential effects of playing versus watching violent video games on children’s aggressive behavior. Aggress Behav 34:256–264. doi:10.1002/ab.20245 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Portes A (1998) Social capital: it’s origins and applications in modern sociology. Annu Rev Sociol 24:1–24. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Saleem M, Anderson CA, Gentile DA (2012) Effects of prosocial, neutral, and violent video games on college students’ affect. Aggress Behav 38:263–271. doi:10.1002/ab.21427 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Schonlau M et al (2004) A comparison between response from a propensity-weighted Web survey and an identical RDD survey. Soc Sci Comput Rev 22:128–138. doi:10.1177/0894439303256551 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Snodgrass JG, Lacy MG, Francois Dengah HJ, Fagan J, Most DE (2011) Magical flight and monstrous stress: technologies of absorption and mental wellness in Azeroth. Cult Med Psychiatry 35:26–62. doi:10.1007/s11013-010-9197-4 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. StataCorp (2009) Stata Statistical Software. Release 11. StataCorp LP, College Station, TXGoogle Scholar
  30. Steinkuehler C, Williams D (2006) Where everybody knows your (screen) name: online games as “third places”. J Comput Mediat Commun 11:885–909. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00300.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 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
  32. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2012) Crime in the United States, 2011. United States Department of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  33. Williams D, Ducheneaut N, Yiong L, Zhang Y, Yee N, Nickell E (2006) From tree house to barracks: the social life of guilds in World of Warcraft. Games Cult 1:338–361. doi:10.1177/1555412006292616 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Windle M et al (2004) Healthy passages: a multilevel, multimethod longitudinal study of adolescent health. Am J Prev Med 27:164–172. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2004.04.007 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 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
  36. Wood J, Alleyne E (2010) Street gang theory and research: where are we now and where do we go from here? Aggress Violent Behav 15:100–111. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2009.08.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 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
  38. Ybarra ML, Mitchell KJ (2008) How risky are social networking sites? A comparison of places online where youth sexual solicitation and harassment occurs. Pediatrics 121:e350–e357. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-0693 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 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

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Innovative Public Health ResearchSan ClementeUSA
  2. 2.Microsoft ResearchNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations