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Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents

Abstract

The potential influence of violent video games on youth violence remains an issue of concern for psychologists, policymakers and the general public. Although several prospective studies of video game violence effects have been conducted, none have employed well validated measures of youth violence, nor considered video game violence effects in context with other influences on youth violence such as family environment, peer delinquency, and depressive symptoms. The current study builds upon previous research in a sample of 302 (52.3% female) mostly Hispanic youth. Results indicated that current levels of depressive symptoms were a strong predictor of serious aggression and violence across most outcome measures. Depressive symptoms also interacted with antisocial traits so that antisocial individuals with depressive symptoms were most inclined toward youth violence. Neither video game violence exposure, nor television violence exposure, were prospective predictors of serious acts of youth aggression or violence. These results are put into the context of criminological data on serious acts of violence among youth.

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Author information

Correspondence to Christopher J. Ferguson.

Additional information

Although several prospective studies of video game effects refer to themselves as “longitudinal”, none use multiple assessment periods over years that typically mark longitudinal designs. Rather they are short-term prospective studies by and large.

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Ferguson, C.J. Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents. J Youth Adolescence 40, 377–391 (2011) doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9610-x

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Keywords

  • Computer games
  • Mass media
  • Aggression
  • Violence
  • Adolescence