Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 105–120 | Cite as

Efficacy of an Intervention to Reduce the Use of Media Violence and Aggression: An Experimental Evaluation with Adolescents in Germany

  • Ingrid Möller
  • Barbara Krahé
  • Robert Busching
  • Christina Krause
Empirical Research

Abstract

Several longitudinal studies and meta-analytic reviews have demonstrated that exposure to violent media is linked to aggression over time. However, evidence on effective interventions to reduce the use of violent media and promote critical viewing skills is limited. The current study examined the efficacy of an intervention designed to reduce the use of media violence and aggression in adolescence, covering a total period of about 12 months. A sample of 683 7th and 8th graders in Germany (50.1% girls) were assigned to two conditions: a 5-week intervention and a no-intervention control group. Measures of exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior were obtained about 3 months prior to the intervention (T1) and about 7 months post-intervention (T2). The intervention group showed a significantly larger decrease in the use of violent media from T1 to T2 than the control group. Participants in the intervention group also scored significantly lower on self-reported aggressive behavior (physical aggression and relational aggression) at T2 than those in the control group, but the effect was limited to those with high levels of initial aggression. This effect was mediated by an intervention-induced decrease in the normative acceptance of aggression. No gender differences in program efficacy were found. The results show that a 5-week school-based intervention can produce changes in the use of media violence, aggressive norms, and behaviors sustained over several months.

Keywords

Media violence Intervention Experimental evaluation Longitudinal study 

References

  1. Anderson, C. A., Berkowitz, L., Donnerstein, E., Huesmann, L. R., Johnson, J. D., Linz, D., et al. (2003). The influence of media violence on youth. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4, 81–110.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). The effects of media violence on society. Science, 295, 2377–2379.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, C. A., Gentile, D. A., & Buckley, K. E. (2007). Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research, and public policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, C. A., Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E. L., Bushman, B. J., Sakamoto, A., et al. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in Eastern and Western countries: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 151–173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer, J., & Coyne, S. M. (2005). An integrated review of indirect, relational, and social aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 212–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arriaga, P., Esteves, F., Carneiro, P., & Monteiro, M. B. (2006). Violent computer games and their effects on state hostility and physiological arousal. Aggressive Behavior, 32, 358–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Bushman, B. J. (2006). Effects of warning and information labels on attraction to television violence in viewers of different ages. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36, 2073–2078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bushman, B. J., & Huesmann, L. R. (2006). Short-term and long-term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 160, 348–352.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bushman, B. J., Rothstein, H. R., & Anderson, C. A. (2010). Much ado about something: Violent video game effects and a school of red herring: Reply to Ferguson and Kilburn (2010). Psychological Bulletin, 136, 182–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Byrne, S. (2009). Media literacy interventions: What makes them boom or boomerang? Communication Education, 58, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Byrne, S., Linz, D., & Potter, W. J. (2009). A test of competing cognitive explanations for the boomerang effect in response to the deliberate disruption of media-induced aggression. Media Psychology, 12, 227–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cantor, J., & Wilson, B. J. (2003). Media and violence: Intervention strategies for reducing aggression. Media Psychology, 5, 363–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carpenter, J. R., Goldstein, H., & Rasbash, J. (2003). A novel bootstrap procedure for assessing the relationship between class size and achievement. Applied Statistics, 52, 431–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Christensen, P. N., & Wood, W. (2007). Effects of media violence on viewers’ aggression in unconstrained social interaction. In R. W. Preiss, B. M. Gayle, N. Burrell, M. Allen, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Mass media effects research: Advances through meta-analysis (pp. 145–168). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coyne, S. M., Nelson, D. A., Lawton, F., Haslam, S., Rooney, L., Titterington, L., Trainor, H., Remnant, J., & Ogunlaja, L. (2008). The effects of viewing physical and relational aggression in the media: Evidence for a cross-over effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1551–1554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crick, N., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66, 710–722.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Efron, B. (1979). Bootstrap methods: Another look at the jackknife. The Annals of Statistics, 7, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Farrington, D. P. (2006). Key longitudinal-experimental studies in criminology. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2, 121–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12, 470–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ferguson, C. J. (2010). Video games and youth violence: A prospective analysis in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 377–391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferguson, C. J., & Kilburn, J. (2009). The public health risks of media violence: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Pediatrics, 154, 759–763.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferguson, C. J., & 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). Psychological Bulletin, 136, 174–178.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldstein, J. (1999). The attractions of violent entertainment. Media Psychology, 1, 271–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goldstein, H. (2004). Some observations on the definition and estimation of effect sizes. In I. Schagen & K. Elliot (Eds.), But what does it mean? The use of effect sizes in educational research. Slough: NFER.Google Scholar
  27. Hay, D. F. (2007). The gradual emergence of sex differences in aggression: Alternative hypotheses. Psychological Medicine, 37, 1527–1537.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Huesmann, L. R. (1998). The role of information processing and cognitive schema in the acquisition and maintenance of habitual aggressive behavior. In R. G. Geen & E. Donnerstein (Eds.), Human aggression: Theories, research and implications for social policy (pp. 73–109). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. Huesmann, L. R. (2010). Nailing the coffin shut on doubts that violent video games stimulate aggression: Comment on Anderson et al. (2010). Psychological Bulletin, 136, 179–181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huesmann, L. R., Eron, L. D., Klein, R., Brice, P., & Fischer, P. (1983). Mitigating the imitation of aggressive behaviors by changing children’s attitudes about media violence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 899–910.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huesmann, L. R., & Guerra, N. G. (1997). Children’s normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 408–419.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Huesmann, R. L., & Kirwil, L. (2007). Why observing violence increases the risk of violent behavior by the observer. In D. J. Flannery, A. T. Vazsonyi, & I. Waldman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of violent behavior and aggression (pp. 545–570). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kikas, E., Peets, K., Tropp, K., & Hinn, M. (2009). Associations between verbal reasoning, normative beliefs about aggression, and different forms of aggression. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kirsh, S. J. (2003). The effects of violent video games on adolescents: The overlooked influence of development. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8, 377–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirsh, S. J. (2006). Children, adolescents, and media violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Kirsh, S. J. (2010). Media and youth: A developmental perspective. Oxford: Wiley.Google Scholar
  37. Krahé, B., & Möller, I. (2004). Playing violent electronic games, hostile attributional style, and aggression-related norms in German adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 53–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Krahé, B., & Möller, I. (2010). Longitudinal effects of media violence on aggression and empathy among German adolescents. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 401–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Krahé, B., & Möller, I. (2011). Links between self-reported media violence exposure and teacher ratings of aggression and prosocial behavior among German adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 279–287.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Krahé, B., Möller, I., Huesmann, L. R., Kirwil, L., Felber, J., & Berger, A. (2011). Desensitization to media violence: Links with habitual media violence exposure, aggressive cognitions and aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  41. MacKinnon, D. P. (2008). Introduction to statistical mediation analysis. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  42. Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2010). Vulnerability to violent video games: A review and integration of personality research. Review of General Psychology, 14, 82–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Möller, I., & Krahé, B. (2009). Exposure to violent video games and aggression in German adolescents: A longitudinal analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 75–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Muthén, B. O. (1998–2004). Mplus technical appendices. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Retrieved 30 September 2009 from: http://statmodel.com/download/techappen.pdf.
  45. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2011). Mplus user’s guide. Statistical analysis with latent variables. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  46. Muthén, B. O., & Satorra, A. (1995). Complex sample data in structural equation modeling. In P. V. Marsden (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 267–316). Washington, D.C.: The American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  47. Nathanson, A. I. (2002). The unintended effects of parental mediation of television on adolescents. Media Psychology, 4, 207–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nathanson, A. I. (2004). Factual and evaluative approaches to modifying children’s responses to violent television. Journal of Communication, 54, 321–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. National Television Violence Study. (1997). Vol. 1. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Olson, C. K. (2010). Children’s motivations for video game play in the context of normal development. Review of General Psychology, 14, 180–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ostrov, J. M., Gentile, D. A., & Crick, N. R. (2006). Media exposure, aggression, and prosocial behavior during early childhood: A longitudinal study. Social Development, 15, 612–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Potter, W. J., & Byrne, S. (2007). What are media literacy effects? In S. R. Mazzarella (Ed.), 20 Questions about youth and the media (pp. 197–208). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  53. Rasbash, J., Charlton, C., Browne, W. J., Healy, M., & Cameron, B. (2010). MLwiN Version 2.22. Bristol: Centre for Multilevel Modelling.Google Scholar
  54. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Rehbein, F., Kleimann, M., & Mößle, T. (2009). Computerspielabhängigkeit im Kindes- und Jugendalter. KFN-Forschungsbericht No 108. Hannover: Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen e.V. Retrieved 16 December 2010 from: http://www.kfn.de/versions/kfn/assets/fb108.pdf.
  56. Roberts, J. K., & Monaco, J. P. (2006). Effect size measures for the two-level linear multilevel model. Paper presented at the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  57. Robinson, T. N., Wilde, M. L., Navracruz, L. C., Haydel, K. F., & Varady, A. (2001). Effects of reducing children’s television and video game use on aggressive behavior. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 155, 17–23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Rosenkoetter, L. I., Rosenkoetter, S. E., & Acock, A. C. (2009). Television violence: An intervention to reduce its impact on children. Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 381–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rosenkoetter, L. I., Rosenkoetter, S. E., Ozretich, R. A., & Acock, A. C. (2004). Mitigating the harmful effects of television violence. Applied Developmental Psychology, 25, 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rosenthal, R. R. (1990). Media violence, antisocial behavior, and the social consequences of small effects. In R. Surette (Ed.), The media and criminal justice policy: Recent research and social effects (pp. 53–61). Springfield, IL: C. C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  61. Rosenthal, R. R., & DiMatteo, M. R. (2001). Meta-analysis: Recent developments in quantitative methods for literature reviews. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 59–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Savage, J., & Yancey, C. (2008). The effects of media violence exposure on criminal aggression. A meta-analysis. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35, 772–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sherry, J. L. (2001). The effects of violent video games on aggression. A meta-analysis. Human Communication Research, 27, 409–431.Google Scholar
  64. Slater, M. D. (2003). Alienation, aggression, and sensation seeking as predictors of adolescent use of violent film, computer, and website content. Journal of Communication, 53, 105–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sparks, G. G., & Sparks, C. W. (2002). Effects of media violence. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 269–285). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  66. Werner, N. E., & Hill, L. G. (2010). Individual and peer group normative beliefs about relational aggression. Child Development, 81, 826–836.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Werner, N. E., & Nixon, C. L. (2005). Normative beliefs and relational aggression: An investigation of the cognitive bases of adolescent aggressive behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zelli, A., Dodge, K. A., Lochman, J. E., & Laird, R. D. (1999). The distinction between beliefs legitimizing aggression and deviant processing of social cues: Testing measurement validity and the hypothesis that biased processing mediates the effects of beliefs on aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 150–166.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingrid Möller
    • 1
  • Barbara Krahé
    • 1
  • Robert Busching
    • 1
  • Christina Krause
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

Personalised recommendations