Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 11–12, pp 721–733 | Cite as

Keeping Abreast of Hypersexuality: A Video Game Character Content Analysis

  • Edward DownsEmail author
  • Stacy L. Smith
Original Article


This study examined male and female sexuality in video game characters. The top 20, best selling console (Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation2, and Nintendo GameCube) video games from the U.S. market for fiscal year 2003 were content analyzed. The 60 video games yielded a total of 489 separate characters with an identifiable sex for coding. Chi-square analyses indicated that female characters (n = 70) were underrepresented in comparison to their male counterparts (n = 419) as hypothesized. In comparison to male characters, females were significantly more likely to be shown partially nude, featured with an unrealistic body image, and depicted wearing sexually revealing clothing and inappropriate attire as also predicted. Implications for these findings are discussed using social cognitive theory as a theoretical anchor.


Video games Sexuality Content analysis Social cognitive theory 



This research was made possible by a grant from the Annenberg School for Communication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota, DuluthDuluthUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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