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Aggress Behav. 2019 Jan;45(1):70-81. doi: 10.1002/ab.21798. Epub 2018 Sep 23.

Media violence exposure and aggression in adolescents: A risk and resilience perspective.

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College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Department of Advertising & Public Relations, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Media violence exposure (MVE) is associated with aggressive outcomes in adolescents. However, based on the differential susceptibility hypothesis, this risk is expected to vary based on the individual's unique risk and protective factors. Using survey data from 1,990 adolescents (Mean age = 15.6 ± 1.10 years; 48% female) and content analysis of U.S. top-grossing films and popular TV shows, we evaluated the effect of MVE in relation to both risk (i.e., family conflict, impulsivity, sensation seeking) and protective factors (i.e., parental monitoring, parental involvement, parental mediation). Relative weights analyses revealed that MVE was one of the strongest predictors of aggression, after impulsivity and family conflict. The cumulative risk score showed a linear and quadratic relation with the likelihood of aggression, with MVE and family conflict having an interactive relation in predicting aggression. Parental monitoring remained a significant protective factor even when all risk factors were accounted for. Targeted preventive interventions that reduce family conflict, promote parental monitoring, and reduce exposure to violent media may be effective in reducing aggressive tendencies and related negative outcomes.


adolescents; aggression; family conflict impulsivity; media violence exposure; parenting behaviors


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