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Double Dose: High Family Conflict Enhances the Effect of Media Violence Exposure on Adolescents’ Aggression

Author(s): Karin M. Fikkers | Jessica Taylor Piotrowski | Wouter D. Weeda | Helen G. M. Vossen | Patti M. Valkenburg

Journal: Societies
ISSN 2075-4698

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 280;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: adolescents | aggression | family conflict | media violence

We investigated how exposure to media violence and family conflict affects adolescents’ subsequent aggressive behavior. We expected a double dose effect, meaning that high media violence exposure would lead to higher levels of aggression for adolescents in high conflict families compared to low conflict families. A total of 499 adolescents (aged 10 to 14, 48% girls) participated in a two-wave longitudinal survey (4-month interval). Survey questions assessed their exposure to violence on television and in electronic games, family conflict, and aggressive behavior. Analyses revealed a significant interaction between media violence and family conflict. In families with higher conflict, higher media violence exposure was related to increased subsequent aggression. This study is the first to show a double dose effect of media violence and family conflict on adolescents’ aggression. These findings underscore the important role of the family in shaping the effects of adolescents’ media use on their social development.
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