Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 1523–1535 | Cite as

Pow! Boom! Kablam! Effects of Viewing Superhero Programs on Aggressive, Prosocial, and Defending Behaviors in Preschool Children

  • Sarah M. Coyne
  • Laura Stockdale
  • Jennifer Ruh Linder
  • David A. Nelson
  • Kevin M. Collier
  • Lee W. Essig
Article

Abstract

Many schools and parents try to motivate children to become defenders of victimized peers. Defending behavior is common in the media (particularly in superhero programs); however, no study has examined the effect of media on defending behavior. The aim of the study was to examine longitudinal associations between superhero engagement and a variety of aggressive, prosocial, and defending behaviors in preschool children. Participants consisted of 240 preschoolers (49% male) and their parents who reported on child media use and outcomes at 2 different time points. Preschooler’s engagement with superheroes was related to increased physical and relational aggression 1 year later. Engagement with superheroes was not related to prosocial or defending behaviors. Implications of the results are discussed.

Keywords

Media Superheroes Physical aggression Relational aggression Prosocial behavior Defending behaviors Bullying 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the Women’s Research Initiative at BYU for financially supporting this project. We would also like to thank all the student research assistants for their help throughout the project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah M. Coyne
    • 1
  • Laura Stockdale
    • 1
  • Jennifer Ruh Linder
    • 2
  • David A. Nelson
    • 1
  • Kevin M. Collier
    • 3
  • Lee W. Essig
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Linfield CollegeMcMinvilleUSA
  3. 3.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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